The first evidence that it is possible to develop blood tests for any infectious disease by screening random libraries of non-biological molecular shapes has been found. As reported in the Journal of Immunological Methods, the new technique, which synthesizes random molecular shapes called “peptoids” hooked onto microscopic plastic beads, can produce millions of molecular shapes. The peptoids are not organic, but if they match to the corresponding shape on an antibody, that antibody will connect to them, allowing the scientist to pull out that bead and examine that peptoid and its corresponding antibody. Using this technique, researchers chemically generated a huge library of random molecular shapes. Then, using blood from HIV-infected patients and from non-infected people, they screened a million of these random molecular shapes to find the ones that bound only to antibodies present in the blood of HIV-infected patients, but not the healthy controls. No HIV proteins or structures were used to construct or select the peptoids, but the approach, nonetheless, successfully led to selection of the best molecular shapes to use in screening for HIV antibodies. The test distinguished between the samples of HIV-positive blood and HIV-negative blood with a high degree of accuracy. “This technology means that we may be able to take a single drop of blood from a patient and detect antibodies to all manner of infections, cancers, or other conditions they may be carrying or been exposed to,” says Donald S. Burke, dean of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh.