Estimated worldwide HIV infections: 49 417 513 at 9.05am on Thursday

Early detection: A new diagnostic device that can detect HIV in as little as 20 minutes has received government approval in the United States in what officials described as a major step toward curbing the epidemic.

The OraQuick diagnostic test kit uses less than a drop of blood and is 99,6% accurate, said health officials.

Federal Food and Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner Lester Crawford said OraQuick will help identify pregnant HIV-positive women going into labour who had not been tested. It will allow doctors to take precautionary steps to block their newborn babies from being infected with Aids, Crawford said.

“It will also be a critical resource in helping identify HIV infection in health care and emergency workers who get exposed to HIV-infected blood while working,” he said.

Illegal drug crackdown: The European Union is taking measures to prevent low-cost drugs intended for patients in the world’s poorest countries from being diverted and resold for huge profits in the West.

Under the scheme, companies will register the drugs they intend to sell at lower prices with the European Commission. These will be stamped with a highly visible special logo to alert customs that they should be banned from re-entering the union.

Sources: Sapa, Af-Aid

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