Project Lead(s): Anita Goel
The emergence of drug-resistant HIV (DR-HIV) is a global health crisis, with up to 72% of patients failing HIV treatment and 6.8% of newly infected individuals now having evidence of drug-resistant HIV (World Health Organization, 2012).
Drug resistance is fueled by under-diagnosis of HIV treatment failures and resistance, which require viral load testing. Rwanda, a Sub-Saharan African country with over 150,000 individuals living with HIV, has just one facility capable of viral load testing, which is slow, costly and inaccessible. There is an urgent need for approximately 200,000 HIV viral load tests per year for Rwanda’s 42 district hospitals.
Nanobiosym (NBS), in collaboration with its on-the-ground partners in Rwanda, introduced and piloted its proprietary Gene-RADAR® solution for the Rwandan context and demonstrated its ability in identifying HIV treatment failure, thus helping to prevent the spread of DR-HIV.
Gene-RADAR, which can detect any disease with a genetic fingerprint from a drop of blood or saliva, could transform conventional monitoring of HIV treatment, allowing for the detection of treatment failure and customization of therapy at the point of care (which would eliminate the need for costly overhead infrastructure, complex sample transport logistics and highly trained personnel). Nanobiosym’s Gene-RADAR delivers gold standard results at the point of care, at an affordable price.
Nanobiosym successfully completed the following milestones:
1) Identified optimal performance metrics for the Gene-RADAR solution for the Rwandan context
2) The NBS ecosystem of collaborators and partners assisted in a clinical study for scale-up
3) NBS demonstrated the feasibility of the Gene-RADAR solution
Various performance metrics (such as level of user training, target price per test and turnaround time) will be used to evaluate this proof-of-concept. Gene-RADAR’s ability to detect DR-HIV strains can serve as a key deciding factor in optimizing anti-retroviral treatment regiments in patients with first-line virologic failure in a timely manner.