Continuum announced that the company has collaborated with Daktari Diagnostics to create the Daktari CD4, an HIV/AIDS point-of-care test that can perform critical, low-cost CD4 counts to guide HIV treatment.

Designed specifically for the needs of emerging markets, Daktari presented the product on July 18th at AIDS 2010.

"Daktari Diagnostics came to us with a laboratory prototype, and was looking for us to turn it into a product ready for the field," said Continuum CEO Harry West. "We needed to bring a variety of skills to bear in order to be successful. In addition to the highly technical requirements of developing a system that can determine the specific stage of HIV, it needed to address all of the unique needs of developing countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa. We immersed ourselves in this healthcare environment and utilized that knowledge to design and create a product that is robust, accurate, and portable."

In an ideal world, HIV-positive patients would be tested regularly so that the moment the disease progresses, appropriate life-saving treatment can begin. This knowledge can have a profound impact on the length and quality of the patient’s life. However, flow cytometry tools, which enable clinicians to test CD4 counts, which determine the stage of HIV, are large, expensive, slow, and fragile — none of which works for economically challenged countries with remote medical clinics and patients who often cannot return to obtain test results.

The World Health Organization has identified simple, portable CD4 diagnostic devices as a critical need in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Daktari’s CD4 device will answer this call to action by bringing this essential blood test to parts of the world where millions of people now have access to life-saving drugs, yet cannot begin or monitor treatment due to inadequate diagnostics.

"Based on my prior work in Africa, southeast Asia and other parts of the developing world, I knew we could utilize simple electrical instruments to tackle the CD4 count challenge effectively, rather than using the current, complex approach of counting CD4 with a set of lasers packaged inside a refrigerator-sized piece of equipment," said Dr Bill Rodriguez, CEO of Daktari Diagnostics. "Our challenge was figuring out how to take this idea from conception to creation. Continuum’s deep knowledge of emerging markets, their commitment to immersing themselves in the cultures and societies where their products will live, and their highly technical medical design team made them the perfect partner for the Daktari CD4."

Source: Continuum