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GEN News Highlights : Jul 24, 2012

Life Technologies Partners with SATuRN to Increase Access to HIV Testing in Africa

Life Technologies and the Southern African Treatment and Resistance Network (SATuRN) are collaborating on sequencing-based diagnostics for HIV-infected individuals in Africa.

Though antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are becoming increasingly available in developing countries, resistance to these drugs occurs in many HIV-infected patients. Genetic sequencing of two viral genes can monitor resistance, but routine use is prohibitive in most African countries due to current costs.

Life Technologies and SATuRN have developed an economical solution for ARV resistance testing which is being made available to African partners. The test can be run on Life's Applied Biosystems line of Sanger sequencing instruments, which are installed in a broad range of African hospitals and HIV-testing centers. SATuRN has collated over 7,000 resistance genotypes linked to treatment and clinical information. Its partnership with Life will allow more laboratories to use genotyping techniques, and large surveys on drug resistance to be produced to inform national department of health and policy makers in southern Africa.

SATuRN currently includes 24 research and governmental partners. It has trained 1,315 physicians and medical personnel on the interpretation of HIV drug resistance in southern Africa. There are more than 2 million patients on ARV treatment in the region.