ATCC has licensed technology from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and partnered with Thermo Fisher Scientific to bring a rapid and cost-effective PCR-based method of monitoring HIV drug resistance to resource-limited countries. The ATCC® HIV-1 Drug Resistance Genotyping Kit was optimized for off-the-shelf detection, sequencing, and genotyping of HIV-1 genomic mutations more commonly observed in resource-limited countries, and was attuned to sample collection methods most often employed in developing countries, including dried blood spots. Together, with ongoing CDC programs to train scientists in geographically dispersed regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia, this collaboration serves to advance applied public health initiatives to understand the growing problem of HIV drug resistance and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes.
One of the most difficult aspects of supporting resource-limited countries with temperature-sensitive reagents is being able to supply materials under stable conditions. This challenge was addressed by ATCC’s long-standing history and expertise in global cold-chain distribution of biological materials routinely used in research to further advances in human health. “Researchers around the globe rely on ATCC as the leader in the production and distribution of reagents for diseases that impact the world, such as influenza, tuberculosis, and malaria,” said Dr. Ted Mullins, Program Manager for ATCC Biological Services. “The release of these kits to World Health Organization designated and CDC-supported PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) genotyping labs for the surveillance of drug resistance in HIV patients demonstrates yet another facet of our commitment to improving global health.”
While most would associate multidrug resistance with bacteria, such as MRSA, the long-term use of antiretrovirals to treat HIV has led to drug resistance against some of the newest and most powerful therapeutic combinations. Researchers and public health officials have made understanding the mode and transmission of resistant forms of HIV a top priority not only in the U.S., but also in countries that have limited access to routine testing. “More than 35 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS, and drug resistance continues to confront people living with HIV,” said Dan Didier, director of public health, with Life Sciences Solutions, Thermo Fisher. “Through our partnership with the CDC and the ATCC we have been able to supply components for a surveillance system to understand the spread of drug resistant HIV throughout the African continent.”