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Fast, Portable Device May Ease AIDS Testing in Developing Countries

February 14, 2003

A portable, rapid test that measures immune cells in people with AIDS could soon be available for less than $1 in poor countries, making it easier to identify patients most in need of medicines. The postage-stamp size device captures and counts the crucial CD4 cells, which direct the body in fighting off infections and are directly targeted by HIV. Data about the prototype CD4 monitor were released at the 10th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston by William Rodriguez, an AIDS researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Still in need of a commercial manufacturer, the new device works by collecting and sorting key immune cells using a microchip. It is then inserted into a hand-held device, which takes a picture, reads and analyzes the image to give a CD4 count in about 10 minutes, said Rodriguez, who co-developed the device with Professor John McDevitt of the University of Texas-Austin.

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Excerpted from:
Wall Street Journal

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