Nigeria: Novel HIV/Aids Monitoring Device Debuts
By Chioma Obinna
As the World Health Organisation, WHO, recently ranked HIV and TB as leading killer diseases, a leading science and technology company in healthcare, Merck has launched innovative system, Muse Auto CD4/CD4 System, for monitoring the progression of the HIV/AIDS in adults and children in Nigeria
The portable instrument provides rapid, simple and accurate monitoring of T cells in adults and children. The low-cost system is designed to be easily portable and operational with minimal training, making it the ideal solution for clinics serving patients living in remote areas.This is coming on the heels of 2014 UNAIDS report which showed that of the over 35 million people infected with HIV worldwide, 25 million live in Africa alone - and only 19 million are aware of their status. Many patients in developing countries like Nigeria, particularly those in rural areas, lack access to regular medical care. Treatment is often hindered by the long distances from the patient's village to the nearest hospital or clinic.
At a media presentation of the instrument, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merck's Life Science Business, Udit Batra said: "As a life science leader, we aim to deliver the most innovative, highest quality products and services to help our customers improve human health and life every day, everywhere.
"Through the launch of this system, we are enabling health professionals in Nigeria to more effectively respond to the healthcare needs of their patients and make progress towards the treatment, cure, and prevention of HIV/AIDS," he added.
He explained further that for people infected with HIV, CD4 cells provide an indication of the disease's progression. In the course of an HIV infection, CD4 cells indicate the state of the immune system and act as markers for T cell lymphocytes. Patients with a low count of these cells in their blood are at increased risk of opportunistic infections.
The company partnered the University of Yaounde in Cameroon on the clinical testing of the Muse system. Clinical trials were carried out under the leadership of Professor François-Xavier Mbopi-Keou of the Cameroon Ministry of Health, a Harvard University Fellow, to determine if the product accurately monitored the progression of the virus. The output was successful in both adult and child patients.
On his part, Prof. Mbopi-Keou said the instrument combines a compact instrument with a unique assay and automated gating and acquisition software to easily monitor patients' CD4 T lymphocytes. "A user-friendly touch screen interface and intuitive software work together to simplify operation and analysis," he noted.