Updated 21 June 2013

Award-winning device for better HIV testing in Africa

An Australian healthcare company has developed an innovative, rapid HIV test that significantly improves HIV testing in the field.

Rapid testing is recognised as an increasingly important weapon in the fight to bring HIV/Aids under control in South Africa and other high disease burdened countries. Whilst performance of most rapid HIV tests in the laboratory is very good, the use of complicated HIV test kits under real world conditions typically results in a significant reduction in the accuracy of HIV testing in the field.

A large South African study proved that the actual sensitivity of HIV test kits used outside of the laboratory was on average 93.5%, and even with additional training and quality control improvement increased to only 95.1%. Across Africa, this potentially results in several hundred thousand people being misdiagnosed with HIV every year. Understandably, the effect of misdiagnosing a person who is HIV positive can be devastating and invariably results in increased transmission. Consider the impact of the disease and stigma on families and relationships, loss of income and cost of treatment – all of which may have been avoided by using the next generation testing device.

John Kelly, the CEO & Founder of Atomo Diagnostics says, “AtomoRapid™ HIV was developed to provide a better way to perform rapid testing. Through collaborative commercialisation of this product, we are enabling both healthcare professionals and patients to trust the accuracy of their HIV test result.”

A lot simpler

AtomoRapid™ HIV can save lives by replacing the need to use a complicated test kit with inherent problems. This makes this test a lot simpler to perform and removes the need for manual steps requiring extensive skill and clinical training. In doing this AtomoRapid™ HIV removes the source of many errors common with current generation test kit based procedures.

To ensure superior performance, the AtomoRapid™ HIV product uses an approved HIV test strip that has been WHO Pre-qualified and sold in the market for many years. Atomo now delivers this test in the field as a next generation solution, specifically designed to meets users' needs and reduce misdiagnosis.

“The Atomo team has been working hard towards making AtomoRapid™ HIV available to the market and the response we have received so far has been fantastic – we now look forward to collaborating with leading organisations to change the Rapid HIV testing landscape,” says Kelly who presented during the 6thSA Aids Conference.

AtomoRapid™ HIV will be available to customers in the coming months. We ask for interested parties to contact us by means of the details below to register interest.


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

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