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Researchers Seek to Drive Low-Cost Devices into Africa

A professor at Purdue University not only recognizes the AIDS epidemic in Africa--he's doing something about it. In an extensive project that involves discussions with groups around the world, Paul Robinson, a professor at Purdue's schools of biomedical engineering and veterinary medicine, has taken the reins to develop a low-cost technology that will be used to perform medical testing on people with AIDS in Africa. The test detects CD4 cells, the cell count that provides the therapeutic monitoring of AIDS.

Robinson and Gary Durack, president of iCyt, established Cytometry for Life, a program that is aiming to manufacture and deliver the low-cost devices to the most resource-poor countries. The cost of a CD4 test in Africa runs about $10 per patient. Robinson and Durack are aiming to build a device that can perform the test for about 50 cents per patient. Robinson told MD&DI that he hopes to be in a position to implement the technology in early 2008. It's great to see people in the medical device industry not only addressing a serious and massive humanitarian issue, but actually moving forward to make things happen.

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