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SOUTHLAND BUSINESS

Litton Wins Approval

April 28, 1985|JUBE SHIVER Jr.

Litton Industries Inc. of Beverly Hills has become the third company to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration to distribute a blood test for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.

The test, developed by scientists at the National Institutes of Health and licensed to various drug companies for distribution, is aimed at preventing the disease from being spread through blood transfusions by screening people who donate or sell their blood to blood banks.

The test does not actually detect AIDS, but is said to be able to determine if a person carries antibodies to a certain virus that is believed to cause AIDS, an often-fatal disease that impairs the body's defenses against illness.

The presence of the antibody in the blood indicates that the blood donor was once exposed to the disease, but does not necessarily mean that the donor will develop AIDS.

Two other manufacturers besides Litton have received FDA approval to distribute similar tests: Abbott Laboratories of North Chicago, Ill., and Electro-Nucleonics Inc. of Fairfield, N.J.

At least five other companies currently have applications pending for government approval to market the new test, according to FDA spokesman Donald McLearn.

Litton, which also makes electronics systems, military equipment and business machines, began shipping the $3 test to blood centers and hospitals earlier this month.

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