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Updated 15 July 2014

Breakthrough in HIV detection in newborns

Prompt detection of HIV in newborn infants is possible without sending samples to a laboratory, a new study reveals.

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A new study due for publication has revealed that prompt detection of HIV in newborn infants was possible, global diagnostic device and service provider Alere said on Monday.

The rapid tests could be done by primary health care nurses and the results could be established without sending samples to a laboratory.

In the study, which was conducted at five primary care clinics in Mozambique, the Alere (tm) q HIV-1/2 Detect assay prototype provided accurate early infant diagnosis of HIV in less than 60 minutes, Alere said in a statement.

Read: Baby thought cleared of HIV has virus again: US

The results were comparable with molecular tests done in medical labs.

Alere said detecting the virus at the point-of-care in newborn infants resulted in them getting antiretroviral treatment (ART) right away.

"By receiving results in less than 60 minutes, clinicians can initiate therapy much earlier, which is particularly important for infants as research shows that more than half of HIV-positive infants who do not receive ART do not live to the age of two years," Alere said.

Read: Treating HIV/AIDS

Alere's q assay would be launched next month in South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more:

Treating HIV one app at a time

Prevention of HIV infection

Real life story: HIV is not a death sentence

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