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Home AIDS test developed, due for sale abroad


ORLANDO, Fla. -- A new AIDS test pioneered by a University of Florida researcher may soon allow people to test their saliva at home for signs of the virus.

The simple "dip-stick" test will be manufactured by a Singapore company under a five-year contract with the university.

University medical researcher Roger Clemons, who developed the test last year, said it will go on sale abroad within several weeks. Approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration probably will delay over-the-counter sales in this country until at least 1994.

The test, called the OraScreen HIV Rapid Test Kit, changes color to register exposure to the virus linked to acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The test takes only five minutes, and the kit could cost as little as $5, Mr. Clemons said.

The University of Florida previously made a deal with Oracle Diagnostics of Foster City, Calif., to market the test in this country if it is approved. by the FDA. The Singapore company, Diagnostic Biotechnology Ltd., will have rights to manufacture the test for distribution outside the United States.

Mr. Clemons said the FDA wants to see how well the test performs in 5,000 cases, including women who are pregnant or people who suffer from liver disease or other disorders. That will show whether the test works when such biochemical influences as hormones or enzymes could affect results.

The test initially will be sold in South America, Africa, Europe and the Far East, Mr. Clemons said.

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