by Carrie Johnson
World Bank officials will hire two independent consultants to investigate complaints about the reliability of HIV test kits in India, they said this week in response to allegations from a doctor who sounded alarms about faulty products.
Graeme Wheeler, the bank's managing director, and Kees Kostermans, a medical expert who oversees the bank's South Asia public health operations, did not say when the consultants would be hired. In correspondence with the doctor, they said it would take some time to complete a systematic review of the HIV test kit program in India.
The bank has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into India through programs intended to prevent the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. Those efforts came under fresh scrutiny when Kunal Saha, an Ohio physician who traveled to India this year at the bank's request, said he uncovered documents suggesting that defective tests had produced high numbers of false negative results. Indians given false results could expose others to HIV, Saha said.