[Ip-health] UNITAID Landmark Report on HIV Diagnostics Hails a New Decade of Innovation and Access for Developing World

unitaid unitaid at who.int
Wed Jun 1 03:11:22 PDT 2011


UNITAID Landmark Report on HIV Diagnostics Hails a New Decade of
Innovation and Access for Developing World
Diagnostics key to the HIV/AIDS Response
Geneva, 1 June 2011 - In the lead-up to the United Nations High Level
Meeting on AIDS, next week, UNITAID today releases a landmark report
revealing that innovative technologies to test and monitor HIV/AIDS
could soon be within reach of the world's poorest regions. HIV/AIDS
Diagnostic Landscape maps the development and imminent coming to market
of a wide range of simple, cost-effective technologies adapted for use
at "point of care" in poor health systems and rural areas by
non-specialized healthcare workers.

"This diagnostics landscape represents the first global public good of
its kind," said Jorge Bermudez, UNITAID's Executive Secretary. "It
proves that industry can contribute to overcoming access barriers. It is
now up to the global health community to ensure that these tools are
rolled out to the people who need them."

The HIV/AIDS Diagnostic Landscape report will enable buyers of health
commodities for developing countries (health and development agencies,
developing countries' national AIDS programmes, non-governmental
organizations, etc.) to choose from a range of innovative products that
will make their HIV/AIDS response more effective. As a large purchaser
of HIV/AIDS products, with US $ 800 million invested in less than five
years, UNITAID will work to accelerate early market entry of these new
technologies and facilitate partners' work to roll them out. 

The UNITAID report covers three types of HIV technologies: Early Infant
Diagnostics (EID) to facilitate detection of HIV in children under 18
months; CD4 technologies that indicate when a person with HIV should
initiate treatment; and viral load, which signals when a patient needs
to switch from first-line to second-line treatment. The latter is
particularly important as one of the great challenges in HIV/AIDS
treatment for the future is to ensure that people who have developed
resistance to conventional drug regimens are able to switch to more
robust medicines in order to keep living healthy lives.

Maurine Murtagh, the author of the report, expects that up to three new
EID, four new CD4, and five new viral load technologies for use at the
point of patient care will be released over the next two to three years.
The news comes at a time when the World Health Organization and UNAIDS -
through their Treatment 2.0 initiative - are calling for simpler, less
expensive diagnostic tests and treatment regimens to make universal
access a reality.

Today, there are not enough HIV diagnostic laboratories and equipment to
reach all patients in need of EID, CD4 or viral load testing in
developing countries. In addition, the laboratories are located in urban
centres and require highly skilled laboratory personnel to operate. This
means that until now millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in
developing countries have not had access to these vital tools to ensure
their appropriate care and treatment.

Note to Editors
UNITAID is one of the first international health agencies to adopt
market-based approaches to improve public health. This report marks
UNITAID's commitment to monitor global health markets and act in favour
of greater access to quality products. UNITAID will produce the HIV
Diagnostic Landscape on an annual basis, and provide biannual updates to
keep the global health community abreast of important advances in this
field. These reports will serve as a key reference point for global
health agencies, practitioners, advocates and others to make decisions
about which technology is most appropriate for their particular health
Download the report here
See HIV diagnostics fact sheet

Brenda Waning, UNITAID Market Dynamics Coordinator: Mob. +41 79 244
6019; Email: waningb at who.int
Daniela Bagozzi, UNITAID Communication Adviser: Mob. +41 79 475 54;
Email: bagozzid at who.int

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