Novel rapid point-of-care test kits bring low cost diagnostics for
HIV and AIDS
10 May 2010
Australia's Burnet Institute in collaboration with Rush
University and Duke University have developed a rapid point-of-care
diagnostic test kit that measures CD4 T-cells in blood samples, markers
of the immune system.
Such kits will be an important factor in improving the lives of
people living with HIV and AIDS especially in developing and
resource-poor countries. Point-of-care tests that are cheap, easy to
use and reliable, and able to be read visually in the field will
give patients access to antiretroviral drugs faster and have a
resulting improved quality of life.
The methodology uses a simple lateral flow immunochromatographic
technique incorporated into a rapid test kit design similar to a
home pregnancy test. Early clinical trials of the CD4 kit are
currently in progress are already showing promising results and
researchers are estimating the cost of the kit to be less than AU$2
when commercially available.
In a recent collaboration, Burnet Institute has also joined with
Australian biomedical applications company Axxin Ltd to develop an
instrument reader specifically designed for use with the CD4 test in
laboratories and physician clinics which can be used to ensure a
standardised approach in test kit result interpretation essential
for device approval in the developed world.
Associate Professor David Anderson of the Burnet Institute said
the new test kit was a significant advancement and would be able to
guide treatment decisions at the point-of-care without extensive
training or sophisticated equipment, while the reader provided a
level of automation and improved precision that would enhance uptake
of the technology in the developed world, as well as a valuable tool
for training in the developing world.
"This style of rapid point-of-care tests have become valuable
tools in infectious disease diagnostics and are especially useful
for diagnosis of diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis as
well as containing outbreaks of rapidly spreading diseases, for
example hepatitis E," he said.
The development of the CD4 test kit has been supported in part by
the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the CD4 Initiative (Imperial
College, London), while development of the instrument reader has
been supported by the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis