Friday April 19, 2019

UK startup rolls out first ever HIV self-test kit

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Picture credit: psfk.com

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Want to get rid of the usual brouhaha and scathing stares while entering a clinic for HIV test? Well, here is an option – the first ever HIV self-testing kit.

Picture credit: psfk.com
Picture credit: psfk.com

Despite heading to a new era etched with modernity and advancement, there are certain issues which are never deliberated openly and people prefer to shove them inside the closet. One such issue is HIV. The very thought of appearing for a HIV test vexes us owing to the repercussions involved, specially societal issues. However, this wouldn’t be the case anymore as U.K. based startup BioSURE has rolled out the first HIV self-testing kit.

The self-testing kit allows individuals to test their blood samples and subsequently execute a test for AIDS.

The device guarantees 99.7% accuracy, which means that out of every 1000 positive results only three would be incorrect. The device is the only one having a legal approval in U.K. with a European Conformity (CE) mark.

The BioSURE HIV Self Test Kit is priced at £29.95 (US$46.80) and would be shipped in discrete packages.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is an infective microorganism that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The self-test would enable an individual to detect the presence of such antibodies when a person is infected with HIV.

Despite a string of advancements made in laying off the disease, the stigma regarding the same still persists, owing to which many people consider it a strenuous task to go to clinics for a test. However, the newfound kit would be a stress buster, removing the possibilities of being looked down on.

Next Story

‘Successful’ Treatment: Man Free Of The AIDS Virus After A Stem Cell Ttransplant

Stem cell transplants typically are harsh procedures which start with radiation or chemotherapy to damage the body's existing immune system and make room for a new one.

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HIV
Shown March 4, 2019, in Seattle, Timothy Brown is the first person to be cured of HIV infection, more than a decade ago. Researchers now say a second patient has lived 18 months after stopping HIV treatment without sign of the virus following a stem-cell transplant. VOA

A London man appears to be free of the AIDS virus after a stem cell transplant, the second success including the “Berlin patient,” doctors reported.

The therapy had an early success with Timothy Ray Brown, a U.S. man treated in Germany who is 12 years post-transplant and still free of HIV. Until now, Brown is the only person thought to have been cured of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

 

The latest case “shows the cure of Timothy Brown was not a fluke and can be recreated,” said Dr. Keith Jerome of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who had no role. He added that it could lead to a simpler approach that could be used more widely.

The case was published online Monday by the journal Nature and will be presented at an HIV conference in Seattle.

The patient has not been identified. He was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and started taking drugs to control the infection in 2012. It’s unclear why he waited that long. He developed Hodgkin lymphoma that year and agreed to a stem cell transplant to treat the cancer in 2016.

AIDS
Usually, HIV patients expect to stay on daily pills for life to suppress the virus. When drugs are stopped, the virus roars back, usually in two to three weeks. VOA

With the right kind of donor, his doctors figured, the London patient might get a bonus beyond treating his cancer: a possible HIV cure.

Doctors found a donor with a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to HIV. About 1 percent of people descended from northern Europeans have inherited the mutation from both parents and are immune to most HIV. The donor had this double copy of the mutation.

That was “an improbable event,” said lead researcher Ravindra Gupta of University College London. “That’s why this has not been observed more frequently.”

The transplant changed the London patient’s immune system, giving him the donor’s mutation and HIV resistance.
The patient voluntarily stopped taking HIV drugs to see if the virus would come back.

Usually, HIV patients expect to stay on daily pills for life to suppress the virus. When drugs are stopped, the virus roars back, usually in two to three weeks.

Drugs
The patient has not been identified. He was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and started taking drugs to control the infection in 2012. VOA

That didn’t happen with the London patient. There is still no trace of the virus after 18 months off the drugs.

Brown said he would like to meet the London patient and would encourage him to go public because “it’s been very useful for science and for giving hope to HIV-positive people, to people living with HIV,” he told The Associated Press Monday.

Stem cell transplants typically are harsh procedures which start with radiation or chemotherapy to damage the body’s existing immune system and make room for a new one. There are complications too. Brown had to have a second stem cell transplant when his leukemia returned.

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Compared to Brown, the London patient had a less punishing form of chemotherapy to get ready for the transplant, didn’t have radiation and had only a mild reaction to the transplant.

Dr. Gero Hutter, the German doctor who treated Brown, called the new case “great news” and “one piece in the HIV cure puzzle.” (VOA)