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Press Release

Australian Scientists Develop a New Low-Cost, Point-of-Care HIV Monitoring Treatment

May 29, 2009

Scientists at the Burnet Institute, Australia's leading medical research and public health institute focused on infectious diseases, have developed a prototype low-cost HIV monitoring test designed for field use in remote settings. The new test enables patients at the point of care to find out within 30 minutes if they should begin antiretroviral treatment, without any laboratory equipment being required.

The CD4 rapid test, similar in design to a home pregnancy test, works with a finger-prick blood sample to measure the numbers of CD4+ T-cells in a person's blood.

CD4+ T-cells are critical for a healthy functioning immune system and are slowly destroyed during the course of HIV infection. When the numbers of CD4+ T-cells in a person's blood decrease to a critical level, this makes them increasingly vulnerable to illness. Healthcare workers rely on a CD4 count when making decisions about when HIV-positive patients should begin antiretroviral therapy. The new test enables patients to find out within 30 minutes if they should begin therapy.

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See Also
CD4 Testing in Resource-Poor Areas

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