ASLM POC News Digest August 2018

This month’s Point-of-Care News Digest focuses on the point-of-care best practices disseminated through ASLM’s Laboratory System Strengthening Community of Practice Project (LabCoP), the point-of-care recency testingand a call for papers on AJLM’s special issue on the future of diagnostics.

ASLM LabCoP ECHO Session: HIV Point-of-Care Integration and Viral Load Testing

This month, Unitaid’s point-of-care (POC) team joined ASLM’s LabCoP team and 11 member countries for their monthly ECHO Session, a platform by which member countries engage in south-to-south information sharing about considerations and best practices related to viral load (VL) topics. The August ECHO session featured lessons learnt from the Unitaid-funded pilots of HIV POC testing integration and VL testing implemented across countries supported by CHAI/EGPAF/UNICEF. Jilian Sacks, HIV & HCV Scientist at CHAI presented about how certain populations (e.g. women who are HIV-positive and pregnant and/or breastfeeding, children and adolescents who are HIV-positive, those with advanced HIV) and those living in remote or conflict-ridden settings may be better served by accessing more rapid VL testing afforded through HIV POC tests. The group also discussed how integration of HIV, tuberculosis and VL tests on POC devices is an opportunity to increase access and minimize costs of POC testing. Countries agreed that product and site selection will be a pre-requisite to building an optimized VL testing network, and that robust, supportive systems, including strong training, quality management systems and supply chains, can ensure successful POC testing.

“While centralized laboratory testing remains the backbone of VL testing, HIV POC is an innovative solution that complements conventional laboratory testing in order to address some of the existing testing gaps” said Mr. Charles Kiyaga, ASLM LabCoP Project Manager. Email Charles at Ckiyaga@aslm.org for more information about joining LabCoP. To view the video session, click here.

Using Rapid Point-of-Care Tests to Detect Recency of an HIV Infection

As many countries approach the tipping point of their HIV epidemics, continuous assessment of a population’s HIV epidemic through ongoing surveillance remains essential to ensure that interventions are efficiently and effectively targeting those at greatest risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV. A point-of-care recency test kit has been developed, that combines verifications of HIV diagnosis and detection of recent HIV-1 infection in one testing device, and is now available commercially. We put a spotlight on the Asante HIV-1 Rapid Recency Assay, an innovative rapid test for HIV diagnosis that can be applied in routine HIV testing services. The results can be returned to the tested client with appropriate counselling during the visit. Click here for more information.

Call for Papers: AJLM Special Issue on The Future of Diagnostics

In 2019, the African Journal of Laboratory Medicine (AJLM), will publish a special issue devoted to The Future of Diagnostics. This special issue will be co-edited by Professors Timothy Amukele (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Ilesh Jani (Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Maputo, Mozambique) and Rosanna Peeling (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). The issue aims to highlight recent advances in technology and the landscape for diagnostic innovation. It will emphasise diagnostics for high burden, emerging and neglected communicable and non-communicable diseases, particularly those that threaten or are endemic to the African continent.

AJLM invites submissions to The Future of Diagnostics that will document the promise of diagnostic development and push its boundaries. Click here for more information.

ASLM’s Point-of-Care project is Supported by Unitaid and partners [United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF)]

August ECHO session on YouTube.

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