Towards a cheap and easy way to monitor HIV/AIDS

July 18, 2005

Doctors regularly monitor the level of an immune cell in the blood called a CD4 cell in HIV-infected individuals, to decide when to start treatment and when to change medications. Unfortunately, the existing reliable CD4 counters are large and expensive pieces of equipment, and every actual count is not only expensive but also requires considerable expertise. These tools are therefore unsuitable for many low-income countries.

William Rodriguez and colleagues now report a new way of counting CD4 cells that is cheaper and easier than the current state-of-the-art technology. As they describe in the July issue of the international medical journal PLoS Medicine, their prototype performed well when tested on real-life samples, mostly from adult patients. Its reliability was as good as the existing counters in the range of counts where CD4 numbers are most critical to inform treatment decisions. A fully portable handheld model is now under development. After some modest training, such a tool should allow a variety of health care workers in remote areas to accurately analyze the CD4 status of HIV infected patients locally.

In an accompanying Perspective article, Zvi Bentwich (of Hebrew University in Jerusalem) argues that "the absence of tools to measure CD4 counts clearly jeopardizes the success of recently launched global campaigns to fight AIDS". While acknowledging that several issues remain to be resolved before the assay can become a widely used tool in resource-poor settings, Bentwich states "the authors of this study should be commended for addressing an extremely important issue and developing this novel approach for counting CD4 in patients with HIV."
-end-
Citation: Rodriguez WR, Christodoulides N, Floriano PN, Graham S, Mohanty S, et al. (2005) A microchip CD4 counting method for HIV monitoring in resource-poor settings. PLoS Med 2(7): e182.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020182

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-02-07-rodriguez.pdf

RELATED IMAGE FOR PRESS USE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-02-07-rodriguez.jpg Caption: Digital image of whole blood obtained using the prototype device: CD4+ T cells shown in yellow, monocytes in green, CD8+ T cells in red

CONTACT:
William Rodriguez
Massachusetts General Hospital
Partners AIDS Research Center
149 13th Street
Charlestown, MA USA 02129
+1-617-726-8099
+1-617-726-4691 (fax)
wrodriguez@partners.org

Related Article:

Citation: Bentwich Z (2005) CD4 measurements in patients with HIV: Are they feasible for poor settings? PLoS Med 2(7): e214.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020214

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-02-08-bentwich.pdf

CONTACT:
Zvi Bentwich
Rosetta Genomics
10 Plaut Street
Rehovot, Israel 76706
+972-8-9484755
+972-8-9484766 (fax)
zbentwich@rosettagenomics.com

PLEASE MENTION PLoS MEDICINE (www.plosmedicine.org) AS THE SOURCE FOR THESE ARTICLES. THANK YOU.

All works published in PLoS Medicine are open access. Everything is immediately available without cost to anyone, anywhere--to read, download, redistribute, include in databases, and otherwise use--subject only to the condition that the original authorship is properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.

PLOS

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