Abbott, YRGCARE team up to track HIV, Hepatitis patterns

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on January 09, 2018

Healthcare company Abbott and Chennai’s YR Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education have entered into a partnership to study the country’s viral diversity to improve the accuracy of diagnostic tests for HIV and Hepatitis.

Abbott will provide study protocol and diagnostic equipment and YRGCARE will screen and sequence patient data from infected populations in India, an Abbott note said.

Public health threats

HIV and viral hepatitis are among the biggest public health threats in India today as they can produce many genotypes, which combine to form recombinant strains or mutate making detection tricky, the note said explaining the importance in having diagnostic tests that pick up on such genotypes.

With more than 2.1 million people living with HIV, India has the third largest HIV incidence in the world with a large part co-infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV). People who inject drugs (PWID) and sex workers are identified as key affected populations for which the epidemic is growing.

Surveillance programmes

Sunil Suhas Solomon, Chairman, YRGCARE,said that the drug using populations or PWIDs in India bear a disproportionate burden of HIV and HCV, and it was critical to understand the transmissions in this group. “Sequencing data in these affected populations will help us understand the evolutionary nature of the viruses enabling optimal treatment interventions to maximise impact,” he said.

Besides India, Abbott has collaborated with partners in China, Australia, Vietnam, Laos and Pakistan on similar surveillance programmes.

Established more than 20 years ago, Abbott’s Global Surveillance Programme spans 40 countries, identifying and characterising more than 5,000 virus strains, ensuring diagnostic tests to detect a wide range of HIV and hepatitis viruses.

YRGCARE was established in 1993 by the late Dr Suniti Solomon and since inception has provided HIV prevention and treatment services to over 21,000 HIV-infected people in India.

Published on January 09, 2018
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