Online tool for improved HIV treatment

The festival of light may remove gloom from the minds of thousands of Indian HIV patient who faced treatment failure.

Scientists have created a new powerful software capable of predicting the cases of treatment failure in a public health care set-up and identify alternate therapies from those cases. Trials in India have demonstrated a high success rate.

The on-line tool identified alternate combinations of available drugs with a higher probability of success in 88 per cent of cases where the drugs actually used in the clinics in Anantpur had failed. The average cost saving was Rs 34,000 ($638) per patient per year.The research data was presented Tuesday at an international congress on HIV Drug Therapy in Glasgow.

The tool developed by HIV Resistance Response Database Initiative (RDI) – an independent, not-for-profit international research collaboration set-up in 2002 – has gone live after the data was presented.

A large number of HIV patients face virologic failure when the medicine they use could not reduce viral loading in their bloodstream.

If this new system was used for just half the 50,000 or so people in India, it could potentially save over Rs 106 crore ($20 million) per year, enough for the treatment of 20,000-40,000 additional patients, while avoiding many cases of virological failure, the researchers claimed.

This software named HIV Treatment Response Prediction System (HIV-TRePS) has been developed to help guide treatment decisions in resource-limited settings by predicting how a patient will respond to any combination of HIV drugs.

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