SYDNEY – Cavidi has released a new version of its HIV viral load assay for resource-limited settings called ExaVir™ Load Version 3. The new test is designed to make viral load testing even more accessible to clinics that do not have access to extensive laboratory facilities.
The announcement was made during a press conference at the 4th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Sydney. Compared to the previous version, the new ExaVir Load test is 30% faster and is capable of 50% greater throughput per week.
The new test will replace the current ExaVir Load Version 2. Like previous ExaVir Load tests, Version 3 measures reverse transcriptase activity (RT) as a marker for the amount of HIV present in a patient’s blood. Already in use in Kenya, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, the ExaVir Load assay has proven itself accurate and robust.
Although designed to work in rural clinics, the ExaVir Load assay does not compromise on accuracy. Comparison studies have repeatedly demonstrated excellent correlation with the PCR assays used in developed nations. It also has the benefit of being able to detect all known HIV types and subtypes.
Viral load testing has previously been considered too expensive and impractical for the developing world. As a result it is rarely used there. Against this backdrop, Cavidi has been advocating the use of viral load testing in resource-limited settings since it launched its first test in 2002. “The availability of ARVs in the developing world has increased ten times over the past few years,” said Martyn Eales, CEO of Cavidi. “Now that we have more ARVs being supplied, the need for viral load monitoring is becoming more apparent.”
Viral load testing is the key to managing antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. A routine part of HIV treatment in many parts of the world, viral load monitoring helps doctors decide when to start ARV therapy and when to switch drugs that are no longer working. This can help prolong a patient’s healthy years, make ARV supplies go further and help slow the emergence of drug-resistant strains of HIV.
Cavidi was founded by leading virologists at Uppsala University in Sweden in 1984. The company’s mission is to make medical diagnostics more accessible in those parts of the world where resources and infrastructure are limited. Their products include ExaVir Load and ExaVir Drug which are used in HIV management.