First do-it-yourself coeliac disease testing kit launched in UK

Added on 11 Aug, 2006 . There are .

A self-diagnosis kit which can identify gluten intolerance is being marketed by a Welsh biomedical firm.

The test, which was originally developed in Finland, is designed to speed up the diagnosis of coeliac disease (also commonly referred to as celiac disease, celiac sprue, gluten allergy or gluten intolerance).

The Biocard Celiac Test is being distributed by JRBiomedical, based in Colwyn Bay, UK, and is reported to be able to give an accurate result in 10 minutes.

The test works by analysing a pin-prick of blood, looking for the particular enzyme that is known to be a marker for coeliac disease. Costing £19.99, the test is evidently as easy to use as a pregnancy test, and uses the same technology currently used in laboratory testing for coeliac disease.

It is hoped that this test could help thousands of people yet to be diagnosed, as it is thought that up to half a million people in the UK alone may be suffering from undiagnosed coeliac disease, putting them at increased risk of cancer, infertility and osteoporosis, as well as suffering miserably from unpleasant symptoms.

With an incidence of coeliac disease in the general population of 1 in 100, it increases to 1 in 10 in immediate families when a family member is already diagnosed with it.

Once the test confirms the presence of the enzyme marker it is still the final gut biopsy that confirms the diagnosis of coeliac disease. This means that the test alone should not be taken as the final diagnosis, it is merely speeding up the process of diagnosis and referral to a consultant to carry out the biopsy.

Therefore, before there is a hysterical rush to purchase these kits it should be noted that they do not replace the need for consultation with your physician or hospital specialist, and a biopsy will still be required to confirm final diagnosis. However the timescales may be rapidly shortened which is vitally important to people living with as yet undiagnosed symptoms.