HIV testing kit not approved by WHO

The Department of Health said it was unaware HIV testing kit Abon was still in the testing phase at WHO.

SD Bioline HIV Testing Kit. Picture: Standard Diagnostics, Inc.

JOHANNESBURG - The Health Department on Tuesday said it was not aware that it was awarding a tender of R52.5 million for HIV testing kits that had not been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Testing kits Abon were part of the same tender as SD Bioline, which were found to give incomplete results.

In July, the department withdrew SD Bioline because it was blacklisted by the WHO.

The controversial kits were used in hospitals and clinics across South Africa.

But now it turns out Abon, the Chinese testing kit that was given the majority of the tender, is still in the testing process at WHO.

Speaking to Eyewitness News , WHO communication officer Glenn Thomas said Abon was not eligible for procurement.

But the Department of Health said it was not aware Abon lacked the WHO stamp of approval.

Spokesperson Joe Maila said, "If WHO has an issue, then we have an obligation on our side to make sure we deal with those things. They are the authority in terms of issues of health".

Testing of Abon kits will only be completed in 2013, the health body confirmed.