Diagnostic Development Laboratory

The Diagnostic Development Laboratory attempts to address the unmet need for new and/or improved tests for many diseases that predominantly affect vulnerable populations.

We do this by using innovative and proprietary methods but typically in a lateral flow-test device, a format similar to those widely used for diagnosis of diseases such as HIV and malaria in the developing world.

Importantly, these tests must give reliable results, yet be suitable in resource-poor settings.

Diagnostics play a critical role in increasing access to quality treatment for those in the developing world, particularly for infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.

Unfortunately, the majority of those individuals living in rural and remote areas of the developing world have limited access to testing mainly due to the issues of logistics, training and equipment associated with many of the tests that operate routinely in centralised laboratories around the world.

There is a clear need for the development of simple, cheap and sophisticated tests that can be operated without associated infrastructure and able to be used in the field.

Over the past few years, our focus was to develop and validate diagnostic tests for priority diseases.

Case Studies


Associate Professor David Anderson and his team produced a simple and inexpensive blood test for HIV patients..

If it’s successful, it could help millions of people in developing countries to determine whether they should start taking antiviral drugs.

“It’s easy to diagnose HIV but it’s hard to identify those who need therapy. Our test will change that, providing cost-effective testing for up to 33 million patients worldwide,” Associate Professor Anderson said.

Find out more about the CD4 T-Cell Test.

Tuberculosis Biomarker

The Burnet Institute has received a tuberculosis (TB) biomarkers grant through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health program, an initiative which seeks to overcome persistent bottlenecks in creating new tools that can radically improve health in the developing world.

Associate Professor Anderson will pursue an innovative research project to identify and validate TB biomarkers, titled “Novel reagents for the serological diagnosis of tuberculosis”.

Using just a drop of blood, an innovative diagnostic test being developed at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne may be able to detect if a patient has tuberculosis (TB).

“Our approach for TB diagnosis is novel, and we look forward to working with the Gates Foundation and the other grant recipients to identify the best approach for TB diagnosis in the developing world,” Associate Professor Anderson said.

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this facility, please contact:

Associate Professor David Anderson

Deputy Director (Partnerships), Burnet Institute; Co-Head, Global Health Diagnostics Development