Feb 2 2010
Rising consumer awareness that early diagnosis and treatment can delay the progression of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to anti-immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has had a telling impact on the sales of HIV tests. The introduction of antiretroviral drugs has considerably delayed the onset of AIDS and the global prevalence rate has dropped by two-thirds.
Owing to this shrinking of the end-user market, test manufacturers have been looking at alternative revenue streams.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.technicalinsights.frost.com), Rapid Advances in HIV/AIDS Clinical Diagnostics, finds that technological advancements address outstanding and new issues associated with diagnosis and monitoring of HIV infections by providing simplified, cost-effective, and precise testing.
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An area that could prove lucrative is the rapid testing kits market, where tests usually produce very quick results (between 5 and 30 minutes) and are easy to use, with no specialized instrumentation required. The HIV diagnostics and monitoring sector has gained significantly over the last three years from the widespread use of viral load monitoring intended for the follow-up testing of AIDS patients.
While hospitals and clinics will be aided greatly by the product developments, they will be looking for technological advancements that can help them deal with the rise in infectious pathogens and antibiotic resistance.
"In an attempt to address this issue, new nano materials and nano device concepts are unified to create diagnostic assays that can operate at the point-of-care with reduced cost," says Technical Insights Research Analyst Prasanna Vadhana Kannan. "Some of the benefits of rapid HIV diagnostics based on lab-on-a-chip systems include reduction in healthcare costs, improvement in rapid public health responses to disease outbreaks, and a drastic reduction in the usage of antibiotics."
The HIV clinical diagnostics sector is on the brink of a revolution with the expected approval of HIV assays that are performed on automated immunoanalyzers. Currently, healthcare professionals have a wide gamut of tools such as viral load monitoring, cluster difference (CD) 4/CD8 counts, and HIV genotyping that enable them to make a more accurate prognosis and prescribe better therapeutic regimens.
Despite the availability of sophisticated virological and immunologic techniques, there is plenty of room for novel diagnostics. They can support disease management by minimizing drug failures and ensuring the effectiveness of a therapeutic.
"Such advancement of new diagnostics can help drug manufacturers to identify the most promising product that will offer clinically meaningful efficacy end points and help choose the right target population for clinical trials," notes Kannan.
The considerable progress made by HIV/AIDS clinical diagnostics had compelled the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review the usage terms of home testing systems. It had to consider the availability of these home-based treatments for people with HIV and the public health benefits that will accrue from more people being aware of their HIV status.
The practice of home testing is likely to gain popularity all over the world, as it provides an opportunity for healthcare providers to identify more people with HIV. This will help in controlling the spread of HIV infection and AIDS.
"Patients may take an impulsive decision to get tested, but this desire often passes quickly, when they realize testing is a tedious process," observes Kannan. "With the recent approval of many products in the United States, HIV testing kits should be easily available and the population should be made aware of this."
SOURCE Frost & Sullivan