Pandemic-era tests could speed detection of hepatitis C

Dr Grande said: “Once someone is able to get through the door on our site, it’s a huge achievement. For many patients, navigating a complex course of treatment, which entails multiple follow-up visits over a period of weeks or months, can prove to be insurmountable. “It’s just a big roadblock.”

Automated molecular tests can compress this process. From a small blood or saliva sample, the tests amplify any traces of viral genetic material in a process similar to the old lab-based polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) method, but has been scaled down to run on small machines. These technologies have been around for years but gained greater visibility during the pandemic, when the FDA authorized them. many developers test to take a shortcut to what has traditionally been a lengthy approval process.

The companies that have developed the coronavirus tests for this ilk have seen a tremendous growth. Cue Health. Ayub Khattak, the company’s co-founder, says streamlining management is transformative: “It just opened the door.”

A similar molecular test for hepatitis C could allow doctors to make an immediate diagnosis and could start multiple patients on the drug on the same day, an approach known as “testing”. testing and treatment”. The patient may then be less likely to pass the disease on to others, and more likely to complete treatment and recover from the disease.

One of the most promising hepatitis C tests was created by Cepheid, a diagnostics company based in California. With a palm-sized cartridge pre-loaded with chemical reagents, the test runs on the company’s proprietary GeneXpert machine and can confirm the presence of a suspected pathogen in less than an hour. Because of its simplicity and size – the entire device is about the size of a desktop printer – it can be deployed in remote locations and can be operated by trained personnel minimal medical.

Research on how rapid diagnosis affects hepatitis C treatment of patients is limited. In a pair of pilot studies, where the technology was brought to a syringe exchange and a prison, more than two-thirds of the diagnosed patients had already started treatment, perhaps twice the rate of those who started. treatment under typical conditions. Both studies received funding from the drug manufacturers and in-kind support from Cepheid.

Jason Grebely, one of the investigators leading the study and a professor at the Kirby Institute, a medical research organization in Sydney, Australia, said the technology “is probably the next game-changer.” ” in the field of hepatitis C treatment. Dr. Grebely has previously received research grants from Cepheid and various pharmaceutical companies. Pandemic-era tests could speed detection of hepatitis C

Fry Electronics Team

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