Point-of-care diagnostics: extending the laboratory network to reach the last mile

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Abstract

Purpose of review

More point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests are becoming available for HIV diagnosis and treatment in resource-limited settings. These novel technologies have the potential to foster decentralized HIV care and treatment for the benefit of clinical laboratories, HIV clinics, and HIV-infected patients. There continue to be many business, technological, and operational challenges that limit product development and regulatory approval, which limits products available for the required operational and cost-effectiveness studies and delays policy adoption and implementation.

Recent findings

Although the rapid HIV diagnostic test has been widely successful, the pathways for POC CD4+ cell count and HIV viral load assay analyzers have been more challenging. We describe significant hurdles for product development, approval, and implementation, which include the business case, technical development, clinical impact, and integrating laboratory and clinical networks.

Summary

The objective of this review is to highlight the obstacles for developing and implementing appropriate strategies for POC HIV testing assays to improve the clinical services for HIV-infected patients in resource-limited settings.

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