For the first time, HIV patients in developing countries will have access to
an affordable diagnostic test to determine if they should start life-saving
The Burnet Institute in Melbourne has announced a licensing agreement with
Omega Diagnostics Group PLC, a global diagnostics organisation, to
commercialise the point-of-care CD4 test for use worldwide, including aid
agencies delivering frontline health services.
Omega has manufactured a first small-scale batch of prototype devices but
reports there is still further work to do in terms of manufacturing scale-up
and field trial evaluations before the first commercial sale of product. The
company will host the commercial launch of the POC CD4 test at the 19th
International AIDS Conference, AIDS 2012, to be held in Washington DC from
Burnet Institute Deputy Director, Associate Professor David Anderson
developed the low-cost test along with Co-head of Burnet’s Centre for Virology
Professor Suzanne Crowe AM.
“According to UNAIDS, there are 15 million people who should be getting
access to antiretroviral therapy but aren’t, just because they can’t get access
to an affordable CD4 test in their communities,” Associate Professor Anderson
The CD4 test uses a small amount of blood from a finger-prick with results
available after 40 minutes at a cost significantly less than the existing tests.
Current tests to determine CD4 cell count cost more than AUD $10. It requires
trained health workers to collect venous blood and highly trained technicians
to perform the tests on expensive equipment requiring power, clean water and
“It’s easy to diagnose HIV but it’s hard to identify those who need therapy,
this test will change that, providing cost effective testing for up to 33
million patients worldwide,” Professor Anderson said.
Aid agencies in Papua New Guinea, India and South Africa are likely to be
among the first to access the Burnet CD4 test.
This is the culmination of six years work by Associate Professor Anderson,
Professor Crowe AM, Mary Garcia, Nadine Barnes, Simone Van de Waarsenburg,
Jocelyn Diaz, Robyn Lloyd and Joy Liu at Burnet.
It was also developed in collaboration with Professor Alan Landay from Rush
University in Chicago and Professor Thomas Denny from Duke University in North
To arrange an interview with Associate Professor David Anderson please
Media and Communications Officer, Burnet Institute
Ph: +61 422 043 498 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Burnet Institute