How South Africa can stop HIV drug resistance in its tracks

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Authored by Imogen Wright – Republished from “The Conversation

Health care is entering a new era of personalised medicine, where treatment is tailored to the individual patient. To usher in this era, researchers across the world are trying to create cheaper tests that can find DNA mutations in humansbacteria and viruses.

In South Africa, researchers are using these new, high-throughput testing methods to crack the problem of HIV drug resistance. Drug resistance testing is considered a critical part of an effective HIV treatment programme, but until now testing has been very costly.

Now, novel research in South Africa has come up with a solution that cuts the cost up to tenfold, raising the possibility of an HIV drug resistance test that could be accessible to almost anyone.

More than 30 years after its discovery, HIV continues to present an exceptional medical and public health challenge. Although anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) are effective at disrupting the virus’s life cycle, the way HIV replicates is very unstable. Mutations creep into the virus’s DNA as it replicates, which can make the virus resistant to ARVs.

Read the full blog at The Conversation.