01 February 2018 | Statement

Multi-disease testing offers new ways to streamline disease management, Unitaid report says

Multi-disease diagnostics landscape for integrated management of HIV HCV TB and other coinfections January 2018-1

Geneva – Innovators are responding to the world’s growing co-infection crisis by developing devices that can quickly, accurately diagnose multiple diseases at a time.

Unitaid’s new landscape report, launched today, profiles more than 95 such devices, already on the market or in development, all of which address at least one of Unitaid’s key disease areas—HIV, hepatitis C (HCV), tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

“The abundance of new, multi-disease technologies is poised to streamline the way diseases are diagnosed,”  said Unitaid Executive Director Lelio Marmora. “Global health is moving away from the long-used strategy of separate tests for separate diseases, separate clinics and separate testing labs.”

An estimated 2.3 million people are living with HIV/HCV co-infection, and tuberculosis causes one of every three HIV-related deaths. Alarmingly, the true prevalence of these co-infections is unknown, as many cases are left undetected.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), meanwhile, is fueling co-infection by gradually stripping drugs of their power to cure a growing list of infectious diseases. Improved diagnostics could help head off this misuse of antimicrobial drugs.

The report also describes how multi-disease diagnostic platforms can promote affordability, ease-of-use, and faster results delivery. Core technologies such as immunoassays and nucleic acid tests (NATs) are featured, as well as emerging technologies such as next-generation sequencing, volatile organic compounds and immunoassay/NAT integrated platforms.

The report presents an encouraging picture of the global push toward multi-disease diagnostics—a trend also highlighted in the World Health Organization’s June 2017 information note: “Considerations for adoption and use of multi-disease testing devices in integrated laboratory networks”.

Download the report here.

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