A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Calypte Biomedical (Lake Oswego, Oregon), a maker of diagnostic tests for the rapid detection of antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), said it supports the guidance policy unveiled recently by the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) of Kenya, which gives Kenyans personal control over their HIV testing.

The new policy encourages them to use non-invasive tests such as HIV-1/2 OMT (oral fluid) rapid tests.

Calypte has provided Kenya, through the National AIDS and STD Control Program (NASCOP) of the Ministry of Health, 10,000 Aware HIV-1/2 OMT (oral fluid) rapid tests which will be available to the public.

“An important facility or tool [is] to identify who needs to be treated — the sooner the better — and thereby making an important contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Peter Ogego, Kenyan ambassador to the U.S.

Roger Gale, Calypte chairman and CEO, said, “The Republic of Kenya is now expanding its HIV/AIDS testing, which up to now has been blood-based testing, with the availability of simple, accurate non-invasive tests such as our Aware HIV-1/2 oral fluid rapid tests. Testing is the best way to identify people living with HIV/AIDS who need to enter treatment or intervention programs.”

He added that the Kenyan government “provides access to antiretroviral drugs to people living with HIV/AIDS at no cost, and we are pleased to be associated with the continuing improvement in the HIV situation in Kenya.”

Professor Alloys Orago, director of NACC Kenya, said recently that Kenya is one of three African nations that have made “significant progress” in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. “These [Kenyan AIDS] figures illustrate the magnitude of the inherent task in providing prevention, treatment, care and support services to ensure universal access.”

NASCOP is involving 10,000 people in the pilot phase of an evaluation project using the Calypte oral fluid rapid test kits. Oral fluid testing is expected to come into general use in Kenya by the end of this year when a government policy directive is released.

Coherent-AMT to distribute for Viking Systems

Viking Systems (San Diego), a manufacturer of high-performance laparoscopic vision systems for use in minimally invasive surgical (MIS) procedures, reported signing an exclusive distribution agreement with Coherent-AMT (Cambridge, Ontario) to market Viking’s 3Di Vision Systems throughout Canada.

Joseph Arango, VP medical for Coherent-AMT, said, “Viking’s technology leap in 3D surgical visualization technology will enhance patient outcomes with increased patient comfort. This technology has already been adopted by over 100 hospitals globally and is continuing to gain momentum.” He said the addition of 3Di systems to the company’s surgical product portfolio will allow Coherent-AMT to support “an increased interest in 3-D technology for minimally invasive surgery and will enable surgery centers and hospitals to offer leading-edge technologies to their communities.”

“Complex MIS is growing rapidly in the Canadian market, and our partnership with Coherent-AMT will accelerate the associated benefits by providing natural 3-D vision to the surgical team,” said Stephen Heniges, Viking’s senior VP, global marketing and clinical development. “We consider this partnership the perfect vehicle for our proprietary vision technology and expect rapid acceptance and growth in the Canadian marketplace.”

MTM distributes Carestream in Quebec

Carestream Health (Rochester, New York) said that Medical Tronik Montreal (MTM; Laval, Quebec) has become the exclusive supplier for the company’s digital medical imaging and information technology (IT) solutions in the province of Quebec.

MTM will sell, service and support Carestream’s complete portfolio of digital medical imaging and IT solutions. The portfolio includes computed radiography and digital radiography systems to capture digital X-ray images; a radiology information system (RIS) for management of patient information, including X-ray exams and radiology reports; picture archiving and communications system (PACS) for the management, viewing, sharing and storage of all radiology imaging studies; laser imaging systems for output of digital medical images onto radiographic film; and information management solutions that provide on-site or remotely hosted solutions for the storage and management of images and information.

Medical Tronik has marketed selected Carestream products in the past.

Gino B rub , president of Medical Tronik, said, “The exclusive nature of this agreement indicates our confidence in the exceptional value the joining of our two companies presents to Quebec healthcare providers.”

Stevan Ramirez, general manager of healthcare information solutions for the Americas at Carestream Health, said, “Medical Tronik’s ... understanding of the specific needs of the province’s healthcare providers will add value to our fully featured digital imaging and information management platforms.”

“Combining Medical Tronik’s sales and support staff with our medical imaging and information platforms delivers an extremely attractive offering to healthcare providers throughout Quebec. Our exclusive agreement will benefit local healthcare facilities as well as both of our companies,” said Bob Hamilton, general manager of Carestream Health Canada.

Mexican marketing planned by Biomagnetics

Biomagnetics Diagnostics (Orangevale, California) said it has met with Hector Garcia, owner of Laboratorio De Patologia Clinica Vallarta, a chain of 23 clinics in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.

Clayton Hardman, president and CEO of the U.S. firm, said that Laboratorio will assist with developing a marketing program for Biomagnetics’ HTS-MTP system to private laboratories throughout Mexico.

“We are very excited about these new business relationships,” Hardman said. “Their participation provides a depth of experience in both the public and private markets that will open not only the Mexican market but all other major markets throughout Central and South America.”

The Mexican market for medical devices is estimated at $2.2 billion in 2007. Biomagnetics said its HTS-MTP system will provide the health industry with “substantial savings,” allowing more health benefits to be provided without increasing the budget for healthcare.

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