Aman Russom, Associate Professor: School of Biotechnology at KTH Aman Russom, Associate Professor: School of Biotechnology at KTH

Eritrean scientist develops low cost technology to detect HIV

Aman Russom is an Associate Professor and senior lecturer of the School of Biotechnology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He was born 1976 in Asmara, Eritrea. He received his M. Sc. degree in Chemical Engineer with emphasis on Biotechnology in 2000 and his PhD in 2005 from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. Dr Russom then did his postdoc fellowship at Harvard Medical School between 2005-2008. In 2008 he returned back to Sweden, where he is currently heading the clinical microfluidics Lab, currently consisting of four PhD students and two postdocs, at the division of Proteomics and Nanobiotechnology at KTH. His current research is focused on applying engineering principles and technologies, especially micro-and nanotechnology, to clinical medicine.”

Professor Russom and a team of scientists from the School of Biotechnology at KTH in Stockholm modified a DVD player to perform blood tests, including a check for HIV. The scientist and his research team converted a commercial DVD drive into a laser scanning microscope that can analyse blood and perform cellular imaging with one-micrometre resolution.

The breakthrough creates the possibility of an inexpensive and simple-to-use tool that could have far-reaching benefits in health care in developing countries such as Eritrea. His innovation into laser-scanning microscopy technique has been featured by the journal Nature Photonics, The Royal Society of Chemistry Journal and the Wall Street Journal this month.

“With an ordinary DVD player, we have created a cheap analytical tool for DNA, RNA, proteins and even entire cells,” says Russom. “The so-called “Lab-on-DVD” technology makes it possible to complete an HIV test in just a few minutes.”


In a proof of concept demonstration, the researchers collected cell-type CD4 + from blood and visualized it using the DVD reader technology, DVD LSM. Enumeration of these cells using flow cytometry is now standard in HIV testing, but the practice has been limited in developing countries. Russom says DVD-based technology will provide an attractive option in places like Africa and Asia.

The Lab-on-DVD reaps 30 years of research and development on optical storage technology to create an alternative to flow cytometry, the standard equipment for hospitals. Flow cytometry units can cost upwards of USD 30,000, excluding maintenance. By contrast, mass-produced Lab-on-DVD units could be made available for less than USD 200, as stated by the scientist.

“The low cost of the technology makes it suitable as a diagnostic and analytical tool in clinical practice close to the patient,” Russom says. “And because it delivers extremely fast analysis, the patient does not need to go home and wait for a response. They can get it right on the first visit to a doctor.”

The researchers are now working on extending the system to handle larger sample volumes so that low- concentration species such as circulating tumour cells can be analyzed or cancer detected.

“Primary tumors sheds cells into the blood stream, a process called metastasis, and these circulating tumor cells in the blood end up spreading to other organs and grow. These secondary tumor sites are responsible for over 90% of cancer related death – meaning it is not the primary tumor that end up killing but the ones spread through the blood stream.”, according to Russom. “In general, the earlier one detect cancer the better patient outcome. Hence, early detection of the so called “circulating tumor cells”, is expected to have huge impact on treatment of patients in the future.”

Since Russom’s DVD scanner has single cell image resolution, it is possible to detect a cancer cell in the background of billions other cells with his technology as long as you immobilize it on the surface of the DVD the Eritrean- born scientist told capitaleritrea news.

By Editorial Team
  • Hiwet

    Universities we need to make it happen. Bro you lift our spirit.

    • negus

      Once there is Rule of LAW, constitution. We the PEOPLE are tired of DIA and his system followers.

      Great job Russom.

  • Dawit

    Aman, If you see this message, this is Dawit an old friend of you in Stockholm.Now living and working in London. I’m so proud of you and happy on what you achieved. All these years of hard work paid off at last. Congratulations bro and keep on smiling as usual :)

  • Aman,

    What an Achievement!

    Well done!
    Your achievement will have invaluable benefits to humankind worldwide and to those living in developing countries in particular. Please keep it up! I am sure you will be a example to many.

  • Observer

    Time to Open Asmar University so that we call educated people can go and help Eritrea. However, first requirement is the implementation of Eritrea’s constitution!

    • wildman

      You are right we need the implementation of constitution first then we can improve everything.

  • Sara Ghirmay

    First !
    Congrats that you reached this stage. what a hard worker you are and you are an example to us and to the youth. your achievement and your implementation is a benefit to our eritreans and to the world. i wish you can write your story or give a conference or speech about the success you reach/brought in your life. May your journey be blessed. keep it up.

  • Robel London

    Well done Aman; I am sure many people in particular Eritrean will feel they can be the greatest , worthy useful individual. As how they were once up on time.

    You have inspired me, made me feal we are not all a Failer .. And thank you for such ingenious invention..keep up the good job.

    Your brother
    Robel from

  • Enjera Love

    We live in a modern world yet less emphasis are given to cure of diseases that are deadly leaving us with speculations as to why it takes so long to find ways to alter HIV virus from attacking the immune system, or to invent vaccinations to prevent it. Since we are dealing with a disease that its prevention is easier than finding cure, I am sure this method of technology will make a huge difference in the outcome of HIV prognosis & prevention of its spread. Good job professor Russom & very inspiring.

  • Wow! This is a great breakthrough. I am so proud of Aman. It’s inspiring and and moving to all Eritreans and people of the world what you and your team have achieved. Keep pushing what’s possible my brotha!, you are such a great human being in everything you do. I hope this open more doors for you and the people you helping.

  • Daniel R. Mekonnen

    You have made us all pound. Congratulations for your marvelous achievement, Aman!

  • Henok

    Congrats Prof Russom. We are proud of you and keep up the hard work!

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  • Congratulations Professor Aman Russom. What a marvelous and useful achievement you and your team have made! We are really proud of you!. We are looking forward that you ans some other geniuses from the new Eritrean generation will one day get the “Nobel Prize!”, and make Eritrea – “The land of the can do people” shine with pride. Your discoveries and achievemnts shall take the world by surprise in the near future. We are quite sure about that. .
    Thank you so much Aman! God Bless You!
    Victory to the masses!

  • teklu bahta

    This is the greatest achievement from the point of technology and science not only to the poor countries but to the rich as well. hope to hear more ground breaking news and i am sure we will.


  • Conguratulation

    Professor Aman Russom .you are the greatest and we are happy.I wish you all the best ,We are proud of you. God bles you

  • Alem
  • Girmay

    Congratulation Mr Aman. Eritrea need people like you but i wish your political view could be as good as your academic achivment. I don’t understand why a well educated people like you are still blindly supporting a dying regime.

    • denden

      You are simply shallow and arrogant, attain the level of Prof. aman and then you can open your gob. filthy qondaf, go and revisit eritrea and you will see what achievment have been done so far.

      wake up derbay!

      • Rational

        It is wise to accept diverse opinions and not try to impose y
        our own views on others. Ghirmay thinks EPLF are not his favorite party and yoy think they are doing a lot; it is all subjective, so it reflects upon your political maturity to launch such a textual attack on him for the mere reason that he spoke his mind.

      • Aman

        You are derby

  • yohannes

    Good news from Eritrea or anywhere is very welcome.
    It has been rare!
    Thank you Aman for the discovery/invention, setting a good example and inspiring your readers. Proud of you!

  • L.T

    I know you since 2000 on Dimtsi Eritreawyan Tv in Stockholm druning war between Eritrea and Weyane and as we all see are your now your hard work school life has fulfill it.
    We Eritrean are proud of you brother.
    Du är den bäst.

  • Daniel Ghebrelul

    Dr. Aman Russom,

    As an Eritrean scientist you broke the eyes of the world. you emegred as the prominent Eritrean scientist in the world. Eritrea is proud of you, Proffessor Aman keep it up with further researches. Thank you.

  • Almaz Meles

    Congrstulations to your achievment Aman! I am very proud of you!!!

    Best regards/ Almaz Meles

  • Feven Mattews

    Really proud of a fellow eritrean achieving such a great success. Hope you have inspired other eritreans as you have inspired me, that anything is possible to achieve if you have put your mind into it. Congratulation and wish you more success in future…

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  • Tewelde

    Dr Aman
    Conngratulations brother. what a great job, I am proud of you as my brother and as an brilliant Eritrean scientist. I wish you and your team more success in the future.
    thank you .

  • Abduselam Mohammed

    Congratulations Dr. Aman, We Eritreans are very proud of you, KEEP IT UP Dr.

  • Mengis Andemichael

    Congratulations dr Aman we Eritreans are proud of you keep up the good work.

  • First I would like to say congratulation!!, a great Eritrean scientist. R. Aman. This is a big asset in the managment of of HIV and other diseases. I think it might be used for screening HBV and HCV in blood bank and this will reduce the tranfusion related hepatitis. We will eagerly wait, the inovation also to be expanded for managment of leukemia especial for detection of resuadal cell during induction tharapy. This is a promising and horndous achievement for young Eritrean scientist and soon many nationals will follow your work.

    • Teklemariyam

      Congura Dr aman we are proud of you

  • medhanie

    Its a great job u have done. Congratulations.

  • seby

    well done Aman we proud of u ……and ur work


    congura a model brother

  • Fetaw hageru

    Well done bro., good job hope fully we will see you in one of the hospitals of future Eritrea after this government is gone in the bin of history.
    When Eritrea is ruled by rule of low not gangs “human organn traffickers ”
    And let’s agree all of as on constitution to start with !!!

  • Habtom Birmingham,UK

    I must say I was sick of reading stories of the acadamic greats fom other countries but now no more! I am proud of your achievement and keep up the good job. You made history

    Let us all voice that it is way overdue that we Eritreans need an environment where we all can strive for better life and lay foundation for the future generation. Our legacy should be universities not military training camps

  • Estifanos Haile

    Dr. Aman, congratulations to all of us Eritreans, I am very proud of you. I am a Medical Doctor graduating in the coming months from Orotta School of Medicine. I am working in one of the far zoba Hospitals in the country. And I am very interested in your work. Very inspiring.

  • Tesfai

    Well, done Dr Aman. You’re a roll model to the Eritrean youth who are forced out of their country with no education. I hope, some day,you’ll return home and serve in the hospitals of Eritrea.
    Change will come,soon!

  • congra bro the result of your efort and inspiring ,lifting up the youngs soul

  • Alem ( female ) Gebremichael

    Dr. Aman Russom.
    Congratulations, You made us proud . Go for the Nobel Price ! ! I hope one day we have a constitutional leader. You serve in our beloved Eritrea.
    Thank you so much and KEEP IT UP.