Burnet Institute HIV test to help world’s poorest
A low cost HIV test developed by the Melbourne Burnet Institute will soon be available for testing some of the world’s poorest people.
The CD4 test is a finger-prick blood test that in 40 minutes can show if a patient’s HIV has increased to the point they require antiretroviral drugs.
Co-head of the Centre for Virology at Burnet, Professer Suzanne Crowe, said other CD4 tests are currently too expensive or require specialised medical equipment and staff.
"It will tell the health worker if the person's immune system has declined to the level where they require treatment for HIV," she said.
"It's a catch-22 at the moment because often the drugs are available but the test to give them access to the treatment is too expensive or not available.
"This will be a test which circumvents all of that."
Crowe added that this test will cost less than $2, which could be subsidised by NGOs or governments, and acts in a similar manner as a pregnancy test in terms of the quick results.
The test is likely to be available at the end of this year with aid agencies in Papua New Guinea, India and South Africa likely to be the first recipients.