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New rapid Chlamydia test could enable 'test and treat' strategy
Date:11/29/2007

Wellcome Trust-funded researchers have successfully completed the clinical trial for a new rapid test for the sexually transmitted infection Chlamydia. The researchers believe the test, which is able to detect Chlamydia in less than 30 minutes and often much faster could be a valuable addition to screening programmes already in place, as well as providing a crucial diagnostic test in the developing world.

The new rapid test for Chlamydia has been developed by a team of researchers led by Dr Helen Lee at the University of Cambridge. An evaluation of the test in three UK clinics is reported in today's British Medical Journal. Dr Lees research teams at the university and their spin-out company Diagnostics for the Real World were recently awarded $50,000 as the winner of the 2007 Tech Museum Awards (USA) in the Health Category for the Signal Amplification System they developed, technology that underpins and improves the sensitivity of rapid tests.

Chlamydia trachoma is the world's most prevalent sexually transmitted bacterial infection. According to the Health Protection Agency, the number of diagnoses in the UK has risen steadily since the mid-1990s, reaching 110,000 in 2005. If left untreated, the disease can result in complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. However, as up to 70% of infected women do not show symptoms, the disease often goes undiagnosed.

The new rapid test was developed to allow detection of Chlamydia using self-collected vaginal swabs, which is much easier to obtain than the cervical swabs required by existing rapid tests and is up to twice as accurate. The new Chlamydia rapid test detected infection in more than 4 out of 5 infected women, even though most showed no symptoms. This sensitivity is similar to some of the current gold standard nucleic acid amplification tests used in screening programmes, including in the UK. The rapid test can provide results in less than 30
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Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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