Global Health

High School Student Wins International Award for Creating HIV Test

Nicole Ticea, a teen from Vancouver, Canada, won a top prize at the Intel International and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest high school science research competition for her invention of a simple and low-cost HIV test.

via  Simon Fraser University
via Simon Fraser University

Ticea, who is just 16, created a simple and inexpensive HIV test that can be sold over-the-counter at very affordable rates. It can also detect the HIV virus in babies under 18 months old and adults who have been infected for only three months. The test does not require electricity, can provide reliable results within an hour, and would take an estimated $5 to produce in the United States.

The Vancouver teen, who developed the test with help from a Simon Fraser University professor and grad student, has high hopes for the impact this test could have. “For me, the ultimate objective has always been to see my test being applied in an everyday setting where it can make a difference,” she said.

Since Ticea’s discovery last year she has created her own company, which received a US grant for $100,00 to continue to develop the technology. At the Intel International awards, Ticea took home $50,000 from the science competition for her invention.

Ticea’s invention could mean big things for women worldwide. Over half of all people living with HIV are women, and worldwide HIV is a leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Ticea has been recognized by a myriad of other awards, including the Sanofi BioGENEius Challense in Canada, and has been lauded by the World Health Organization

Media Resources: Huffington Post 5/18/15; NotImpossibleNow 12/1/4; Ms. Magazine 8/30/13; UN AIDS Global Report; BBC 3/5/10;