Life Technologies and SATuRN Collaborate to Increase Access to HIV Testing in Africa – Life and Southern African Treatment and Resistance Network (SATuRN) Partner in Sequencing-Based Surveillance of Drug Resistance
CARLSBAD, California, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire via African Press Organization (APO)/ — Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE ) today announced a collaboration with the Southern African Treatment and Resistance Network (SATuRN – http://www.bioafrica.net/saturn) on sequencing-based diagnostics for HIV-infected individuals in Africa.
Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are becoming increasingly available in the developing world, due to facilitation by both governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as reductions in price and international trade restrictions by pharmaceutical companies. Resistance to these drugs develops in many HIV-infected individuals, however, and resistance is therefore coming to the forefront of the global health agenda. Resistance can be monitored by genetic sequencing of two viral genes, but current costs have made routine use prohibitive in most African countries.
Life Technologies has developed together with SATuRN a simple-to-answer solution for ARV resistance testing, which is being made available to African partners at a highly economic cost per test. The test can be run on Life’s Applied Biosystems line of Sanger sequencing instruments, which are broadly installed in African hospitals and HIV-testing centers.
The methods developed as part of this collaboration have the potential to become the most accurate and cost-effective method for the diagnosis of resistance pathogens in Africa and the referral of patients for appropriate care. The reasons for this are that the price of DNA/RNA genotyping is rapidly decreasing as technology is evolving at great speed, and the software applications to be used and further developed are all open source and available in Africa (Dr. Tulio de Oliveira on behalf of SATuRN – Public HIV Drug Resistances Databases in Africa, published in the journal NATURE 2010).
“Drug resistance testing is an essential cornerstone of clinical practice in the developed world,” said Ronnie Andrews, president of medical sciences at Life Technologies. “We are proud to partner with SATuRN to make resistance testing possible for a broad base of HIV-infected patients in Africa.”
“We have trained 1,315 physicians and medical personnel on the interpretation of HIV drug resistance in southern Africa. The region has more than 2 million patients on ARV treatment, and we believe that now is the time for the use genotyping technology to fight the battle against drug resistance,” said Dr. Tulio de Oliveira, director of SATuRN and senior researcher at Wellcome Trust-Africa Centre. “This 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 the region.”
Additional collaborators on the test development include the Stanford HIV Drug Resistance Database.
Life Technologies currently markets its Applied Biosystems 3500 Capillary Electrophoresis platform as an RUO product in the United States; the platform is also CE-IVD approved in Europe.
About Life Technologies
Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) is a global biotechnology company with customers in more than 160 countries using its innovative solutions to solve some of today’s most difficult scientific challenges. Quality and innovation are accessible to every lab with its reliable and easy-to-use solutions spanning the biological spectrum with more than 50,000 products for agricultural biotechnology, translational research, molecular medicine and diagnostics, stem cell-based therapies, forensics, food safety and animal health. Its systems, reagents and consumables represent some of the most cited brands in scientific research including: Ion Torrent™, Applied Biosystems®, Invitrogen™, GIBCO®, Ambion®, Molecular Probes®, Novex®, and TaqMan®. Life Technologies employs approximately 10,400 people and upholds its ongoing commitment to innovation with more than 4,000 patents and exclusive licenses. LIFE had sales of $3.7 billion in 2011. Visit us at our website: http://www.lifetechnologies.com.
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About Southern African Treatment and Resistance Network (SATuRN)
SATuRN is a consortium of virologists, clinicians, epidemiologists, bioinformaticians, policy makers, public health specialists and social scientists working on HIV treatment and care in southern Africa. It currently includes 24 research and governmental partners in southern Africa. SATuRN has developed an approach to virological failure clinical management that ensures the delivery of drug resistance genotyping and clinical management to remote clinics without them needing elaborate computer systems or infectious disease specialists on site. By applying telemedicine, off site laboratories, specialists and physicians from medical centres across the world can review cases, including clinical and resistance data, and give feedback and advice to the clinician managing the patient at the primary clinic. This system is useful for patient management and for the curation and annotation of drug resistance data. At present SATuRN has collated over 7,000 resistance genotypes linked to treatment and clinical information. The aim of SATuRN consortium is to foster international and regional collaboration into public health and research so as to develop and implement innovative means of prevent and treat drug resistance in resource limited public health settings in southern Africa. SATuRN looks at HIV drug resistance as a multi-disciplinary field and believes that drug resistance testing has an important role in clinical management, surveillance and research.
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