AIDS & Hepatitis
- 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.
- Hepatitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by various factors, including infection, toxins (such as alcohol) or medicines. Infectious hepatitis is caused primarily by the hepatitis A, B, C and E viruses. Hepatitis can have serious consequences for a patient's health.
The healthcare challenge
- According to 2017 data from UNAIDS, in the world:
- 36.7 million people were living with HIV en June 2017;
- 20,9 million people were receiving antiretroviral treatment n 2016;
- 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2016;
- 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2016.
- Hepatitis A is present throughout the world, particularly in countries with poor socio-economic conditions. It is benign and does not cause chronic liver disease. It is rarely fatal but it may cause debilitating symptoms and fulminant hepatitis (acute liver failure).
- Hepatitis B is the one of the most widespread sexually transmitted diseases and has the highest global mortality rate, affecting particularly the Western Pacific and African regions. According to WHO, an estimated 257 million people are living with a chronic infection caused by the hepatitis B virus and over 800,000 people died in 2016 due to cirrhosis and liver cancer after an hepatitis B infection.
- Hepatitis C can cause both acute and chronic infection that ranges in severity, from mild to serious. It is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer and 71 million people are estimated to have a chronic hepatitis C infection. Approximately 399,000 people die each year from hepatitis C.
- Hepatitis E may be transmitted via the fecal-oral route through contaminated water in limited-resource countries, but also through the ingestion of undercooked meat. According to WHO, an estimated one-third of the global population has been exposed to hepatitis E infection and nearly 57,000 deaths are reported each year.
The role of in vitro diagnostics
Diagnostic tests play an essential role.
- AIDS: early detection means patients can receive the best possible care to prevent the spread of the virus. The available immunoassays 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. Molecular biology 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.
More information on our range of HIV/AIDS testing solutions.
- Hepatitis: tests are used to elucidate the signs of hepatitis infection (an elevation in hepatic enzymes in the blood). They also include virological tests, such as testing for viral antigens and/or antibodies, and the detection of viral load using molecular biology techniques. They enable the confirmation of diagnosis of viral hepatitis, an indication, in some cases, of the condition’s medium-term development and treatment monitoring.
More information on our range for the diagnosis of hepatitis.
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.