The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects the cells of the immune system and destroys them or makes them ineffective. This results in the gradual deterioration of the immune system, which can no longer fight infection.
The term "AIDS" applies to the more advanced stages of HIV infection, defined by the development of one or several of the opportunistic infections or cancers associated with HIV.
The healthcare challenge
According to 2016 data from UNAIDS, in the world in 2015:
- 36.7 million people were living with HIV;
- 18.2 million people were receiving antiretroviral treatment;
- 2.1 million people became newly infected with HIV;
- 1.1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses.
In the fight against AIDS, the WHO has set new objectives aiming to reach the 90-90-90 target established by UNAIDS by 2020:
- 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy;
- 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status;
- 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have sustained viral suppression.
The role of in vitro diagnostics
Screening tests play a decisive role in successfully reaching this 90-90-90 target: early detection means patients can receive the best possible care to prevent the spread of the virus.
For more than 30 years, bioMérieux has been at the cutting edge of innovation in the fight against AIDS. The Company developed one of the first screening tests in 1985. Since then our researchers’ efforts have culminated in the development of one of the broadest ranges of high-performance tests available for the diagnosis and monitoring of HIV infection, meeting the needs of patients and physicians.
The tests detect antibodies directed towards the HIV and/or the p24 antigen in the patients' blood, thus allowing the infection to be diagnosed earlier. bioMérieux also offers a molecular biology test for viral load monitoring. It is used to follow changes in the patient's disease before and after starting treatment, so that the most appropriate therapy can be prescribed and any resistance to treatment will be rapidly detected.
bioMérieux is committed to making the latest innovations in HIV screening available to all types of healthcare settings and systems. We were the first company to develop a CE-approved protocol on filter paper for viral load monitoring, ideally suited for remote areas with limited resources. The Dry Blood Spot technique consists of depositing a blood sample on filter paper, with no need for refrigeration. Samples may be taken in local dispensaries, with no need for a laboratory or qualified technicians.
30 years of innovation in fighting HIV/AIDS