Dried Blood CD4+ T-Cell Test May be Cheaper, More Convenient Alternative in Developing Countries, Study Says
November 3, 2003
Researchers have replicated the CD4+ T cell count test, which is normally conducted on an expensive flow cytometer machine using fresh blood, using dried blood and inexpensive commercially available reagents, a discovery that could simplify antiretroviral treatment monitoring for doctors in resource-poor settings, according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of the Lancet, Agence France-Presse reports. Standard flow cytometry tests, in which a $35,000 machine is used to count CD4+ cells as they pass through a laser, need to be staffed and maintained by trained personnel and require fresh blood samples, meaning that patients must be within two hours from a lab. Such requirements represent "crippling burdens" for developing countries, according to Agence France-Presse (Agence France-Presse, 10/31). A cheaper, more field-friendly test needs to be developed for resource-poor countries, where antiretroviral drugs will soon become widely available, the study authors say (Mwaba et al., Lancet, 11/1).
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