In its effort to ensure that the spread of the HIV virus is drastically reduced, the Federal Government has approved the use of a new test kit – Omega Visitect CD4 rapid test kit, to detect and monitor HIV infection.
The test kit, which also monitors a patient response to anti-retroviral therapy (ART), will be available for purchase and use in hospitals across the country.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, stated these during a media briefing on the dissemination of Omega Visitect CD4 rapid test kit, over the weekend in Abuja.
According to him: “HIV testing is the fulcrum of any HIV programme as it establishes the individual’s HIV status which then determines the subsequent package of prevention or treatment services that will benefit that individual.
The Minister added: “The purpose of CD4 estimation in people living with HIV/AIDS is not only to reflect the effectiveness of therapy with ART but also to identify people who might be vulnerable to opportunistic infections. The need to identify people with low CD4 count becomes imperative.
The National Coordination of the National AIDS/STI and Hepatitis Control Programme, Mr. Araoye Segilola, “CD4 rapid test kit will be very useful in advance HIV care. In the course of using this kit, when a person is infected with the virus, the CD4 is supposed to rise because it is responding to an infection in the body. However, if it is low in the body, then there is a problem. We also look at other opportunistic infections of which the prominent is tuberculosis.
Concerning cost and retail, the Nigerian Representative, Omega Diagnostics Limited, Alh. Majekodunmi Aborode, said, “It is going to be $6 per test kit, which is about N2,000, compared with the ordinary CD4 machine in a conventional lab.
“It is less expensive, it does not require any maintenance, it do not require any electricity; also you will know your count result in 40 minutes. It is part of our plan to bring the technology to this country to start manufacturing it locally and add value to our economic development”.