In the past 25 years, over 65 million people have been infected with HIV and 25 million people have died of AIDS. At bioMérieux, we have never wavered in our longstanding commitment to fight this disease. In 1985, shortly after the discovery of the HIV virus, our research teams developed one of the first screening tests. Since then, we have constantly improved our products, with nearly 20 new developments, and today offer one of the widest product ranges for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients living with HIV infection.
Because screening tests must be adapted to follow the ever-changing AIDS pandemic, we are constantly developing new products to meet the needs of healthcare professionals in their day-to-day work.
- Reducing turnaround times for faster results: our recent and innovative VIDAS® Advanced 4th generation HIV screening test detects anti HIV antibodies and p24 antigen, while NucliSENS® (new generation technology for applications using molecular diagnostic tests) enables real-time monitoring of viral load.
- Enabling access to healthcare: bioMérieux is the first company to develop a specific protocol for viral load monitoring based on the Dry Blood Spot method. This very recent technique can be used for screening in remote areas of the world that are especially hard hit by AIDS (Southern Africa and Southeast Asia). Just a few drops of blood absorbed onto blotting paper are sufficient to ensure viral load monitoring.
These “dry” samples may be collected in local clinics that have no access to laboratories or qualified technicians. This method greatly facilitates storage and transport, and reduces the need for refrigeration. Samples are easily preserved and viral load remains stable over time, making it possible to obtain relevant results. This innovation upholds our commitment to enable access to healthcare for people living with AIDS throughout the world.
Diagnose earlier for better prevention: the detection of HIV antibodies is the sign of HIV infection, also known as seropositivity. For several years now, counting the number of CD4 lymphocytes has been the most basic biological test needed to monitor the course of infection. In countries with adequate infrastructures, the patient’s viral load is measured to assess the efficacy of antiretroviral treatment, and to adapt it if the virus develops resistance to the drugs being administered.
- Screening, and early screening in particular, make it possible to begin treatment for patients and improve their quality of life. Early screening also helps to prevent the spread of the virus since patients who discover they are seropositive receive information about how to not transmit the disease. This is especially crucial during seroconversion, the point at which the virus is most contagious, and the risk of transmitting HIV to others is therefore higher.
- Monitoring viral load provides an indicator of how quickly the AIDS virus is replicating. The higher the viral load, the higher the rate of viral replication, which indicates more rapid progression of the disease. It is also possible to assess the efficacy of treatment and adapt it if the virus develops resistance to the drugs the patient is taking. Such monitoring must be carried out on a regular basis, so simple solutions work best.
- Our tests make it possible to:
- adjust treatment over the course of the disease
- rapidly detect resistance to HIV therapies
- improve patients’ quality of life
- reduce mother-to-child transmission of AIDS.