Test for HTLV

A diagnostic kit to detect types 1 and 2 HTLV (Human T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma Virus) retroviral infections, as a follow-up to other positive test results, is under development at the RP Blood Center, which is affiliated with the Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP), in partnership with Gene ID, a company based in São Carlos, also in the state of São Paulo. “We collect blood and extract DNA from the cells of patients for testing,” says Simone Kashima Haddad, researcher and coordinator of the Molecular Biology Laboratory of the Blood Center, where the research is led by Professor Dimas Tadeu Covas. “Brazil and other South American countries are considered endemic areas for HTLV,” says Haddad. There are about 2.5 million infected people in Brazil, and between 1% and 5% of these will develop diseases such as leukemia or neurological disorders. Each confirmatory test, which is currently available and imported, costs about R$200.00. “We would like a more sensitive and less costly diagnostic tool.”