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City-based institute to evaluate HIV drug resistance across Asia
Pune, June 16: A City-based institute is part of an undertaking to evaluate HIV drug resistance in 20 centres among HIV patients across Asia. The Institute of Infectious Diseases has tied up with Geneom Bio tech lab to make available the drug resistance test for the first time in Pune. This project is part of the Therapeutic Research Education and AIDS Training (TREAT)-Asia Network, funded by the Dutch government and American Foundation for AIDS Research.
Institute director Dr Sanjay Pujari says that an observational study would be undertaken at the TREAT centres in Asia. In India, centres in Pune and the YRG Care centre at Chennai will participate in the study of 3,000 HIV patients.
Pujari also says while there is reasonable improvement in the access to first line treatment of anti-HIV drugs, other issues are slowly emerging. "We see a lot of drug resistance in patients who have been on anti-HIV treatment," he says.
This could be because the patient is not adhering to the treatment, besides the fact that the virus multiplies rapidly. Use of Anti-Retroviral Therapy drugs in developed countries has been associated with the development of HIV drug resistance. HIV's high mutation rate and the lifelong treatment of the disease are known to contribute to some degree of HIV drug resistance among patients, Pujari says.
The resistance testing device available in Mumbai is extremely expensive and ranges from Rs 16,000 onwards, according to Sachin Purohit, managing director of Geneom Bio lab. So to make it commercially viable - at one-third the cost - the two collaborating partners have combined several technologies to analyse a viral genome, predict and identify the particular strain that is resistant to an anti-HIV drug.
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