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Milestone Drug Makes Debut for Detecting HIV

A new pharmaceutical product to detect HIV/AIDS has been introduced in Shenzhen, in China's southern Guangdong Province.

It marked a milestone for the country as it pushes forward in the field of genetic diagnosis technology.

The manufacturer of the product, which is called a Quantitative Fluorescent Polymerase Chain Reaction (QFPCR) kit, claims it is a significant breakthrough in the prevention, diagnosis and cure of HIV/AIDS.

Shenzhen PG Biotech Co Ltd General Manager Guo Zhenxi said the product also increased the safety of blood transfusions and blood-derivatives production.

"Now that the HIV patients in the country are increasing, there has been a great demand for effective techniques to detect the fatal disease," Guo said.

Guo said the new product could detect the degree of infection by amplifying the virus and showing it on a fluorescent screen, providing reliable data in the search for the cure of the disease.

"Compared with the traditional detection method, the new one improves the precision and sensitivity of detection," Guo said.

The low price of the product is a bonus for those with HIV, according to Guo, who said a kit cost about 100 yuan (US$12.2).

"My company is striving to develop the new pharmaceutical product so that more HIV people will benefit from it," Guo said.

"Most importantly,the product makes for the prevention of blood pollution. The QFPCR technique can detect the virus a week after one becomes infectious, which helps guarantee the safety of blood sources."

According to official statistics, over 120,000 people in China were infected by HIV at the end of 2000. Experts, however, believed the number totalled more than the figure.

(People's Daily August 1, 2002)

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