HIV viral load measurement is the foundation for successful antiviral therapy. By monitoring the circulating level of the virus (using a quantitative technology like BART) the efficacy of therapeutic regimes can be assessed, helping to indentify early the development of drug resistance. However, the paradox with viral load monitoring is that in 2010 >90% of tests were performed in the western world, whereas >90% of people infected with HIV live in Africa, India and China.
The World Health Organisation has published guidelines for HIV management stressing the value of viral load monitoring, but it is widely recognised that alternative (low cost) testing platforms are required to meet the needs of healthcare facilities in low resource setting, such as, sub-Saharan Africa. BART has the capability to deliver quantitative results at a level of price and convenience not previously seen. Thus, Lumora is developing a robust, affordable and easy-to-use HIV viral load monitoring system, designed specifically for countries with the greatest need.
We are collaborating with experts in the global not-for-profit health organisation, PATH as well as more locally at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge. Later this year we plan to publish the first test results of our system using real HIV samples.