A new generation of simple, affordable medical diagnostic tests is heading toward the developing world where they may protect impoverished people from AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases.
Chemical and Engineering News senior editor Celia Henry Arnaud explains that scientists have designed the tests for the harsh realities that exist in much of the developing world. Those include lack of modern laboratory equipment, lack of refrigeration and unreliable sources of pure water. Many of the new tests require no instruments and can be read and interpreted by workers with minimal training. Some are multi-purpose, capable of diagnosing several infections simultaneously from a few drops of blood or urine, the article notes.
One new test, for example, can monitor levels of key immune system cells in patients infected with HIV, the cause of AIDS, and help determine when costly anti-viral therapy is needed. The tests may also be a boon for the developed world, making health care more affordable, the article suggests.
- Celia Arnaud. Making diagnostics affordable. Chemical and Engineering News, March 16, 2009; Volume 87, Number 11, pp. 29-30
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