September 19, 2013
British Columbia Center of Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, has received $5 million in funding for a project to develop an improved HIV drug-resistance test, real-time drug resistance surveillance, and better ways of personalizing HIV treatment. The new individualized test, which is based on DNA sequencing technology, can detect drug-resistant strains. Also, using the patient's DNA, two types of tests -- viral and human genomic -- will enable doctors to determine the best antiretroviral drugs to reduce the virus in the patient's blood and minimize adverse reactions, thus preventing nonadherence. The researchers also will develop a new early warning system to monitor and map drug resistance and indicate geographic or population "hotspots" where resistance is highest and transmission risk greatest. The test at the BC-CfE labs will be available for all Canadian HIV patients through their doctors, and the researchers plan to share the technology with labs globally. Genome BC, Genome Canada, Genome Quebec, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, ViiV Health care and the St. Paul's Hospital Foundation are funding the project.
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