Two firms in SA engage to take HIV testing hi-tech

Two firms in South Africa have partnered to take HIV testing hi-tech.

The firms, Life Technologies and SATuRN, say they are pursuing a joint effort to help reduce HIV prevalence in Africa, by increasing access to hi-tech ARV resistance testing.
The technology is a simple answering mechanism for ARV resistance testing and runs on Life Technologies’ Applied Biosystems Sanger sequencing instruments. The solution will be installed in hospitals and HIV testing centres at a cost.
Given the reported cases of resistance to ARV’s, a number of HIV-infected has been growing, and although it could be monitored through genetic sequencing of two viral genes, the technology largely remains expensive in the developing world. The firms however say they seek to solve it using their new solutions.
They say their technology could be the most accurate and affordable resistance pathogen diagnosis. According to the firms, the solution will be affordable as it has been built on open source.
Ronnie Andrews, President of Medical Sciences at Life Technologies said ARV Drug resistance testing is essential and the partnership with SATuRN would make this possible in Africa.
Dr. Tulio de Oliveira, Director of SATuRN and Senior Researcher at Wellcome Trust-Africa Centre, said they have trained 1,315 physicians and medical personnel to interpret HIV drug resistance in southern Africa with over 2 million patients on ARV treatment. The genotyping technology will be deployed to help fight the battle against drug resistance.
“This partnership with LIFE will allow more laboratories to use genotyping techniques, and large surveys on drug resistance to be produced to inform national department of health and policy makers in the region,” he added.
Life Technologies Corporation operates in over 160 countries and has more than 4,000 patents.
SATuRN is a Southern Africa based consortium of virologists, clinicians, epidemiologists, bioinformaticians, policy makers, public health specialists and social scientists working on HIV treatment and care in southern Africa. SATuRN has over 7,000 disease resistance genotypes.

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