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A cheap test using dried blood could help keep track of how well anti-HIV drugs are working in the developing world. The availability of subsidies and generic drugs to poorer countries has made a viable test essential.

Alimuddin Zumla of University College London devised a test using spots of dried blood and antibodies that latch onto critical immune cells called CD4+ lymphocytes. Zumla’s test — which removes the need for blood samples to be refrigerated — costs just US$1 a time, yet is as accurate as high-tech monitoring of fresh blood, which costs US$40.

Zumla’s team now hopes to collaborate with HIV clinics in several African countries, including Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania, to perfect the test. They are also looking for a company to develop it.

Link to article in Nature Science Update  
Link to paper by Alimuddin Zumla and colleagues in The Lancet*

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