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Mumbai: Now, HIV viral load can be tested in two hours

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New HIV infections stagnating globally at 2.5 million per yearpicture credit: moremove.com

Mumbai: In a first of its kind, ‘GeneXpert’ technology will be used by the King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEM), Parel, which will diagnose three main diseases like HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B and C in two hours. This makes KEM the only second hospital in the country to procure a ‘GeneXpert’ machine which will be used to reduce the HIV viral load testing period.

According to the experts, right now they are using GeneXpert technology on a trial basis because it is the first time this machine will also test HIV viral load apart from Tb. “Earlier, it used to detect only Tb but now it will be a significant improvement over the machines which are currently used to test the HIV viral load,” said a senior doctor.

The viral load is an indicator of a number of viruses in the body. This test is an effective way to determine the status of HIV infection in a person who is diagnosed with the disease and to identify whether the treatment is working on the patient or not. The doctors said that before they used to perform the tests manually which required more manpower due to which it uses to took one or two days to test the viral load but now in 90 minutes accurate results can be got.


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“Compared to the existing system of HIV viral load using real time PCR which requires skilled manpower, expensive infrastructure and where results are available in one or two days. But, this machine will reduce the manpower as it is fully automated and will get accurate results,” said Dr. Preeti Mehta, microbiologist at KEM hospital.

The GeneXpert based assay is a closed, cartridge based, simple, fully automated platform which provides results within two hours. “This machine will also detect the virus of Tb and Hepatitis C within two hours due to which patient do not have to wait for a longer period to get reports,” added a senior doctor. The doctors further added that before they used to test around 400 samples a month. But now with this machines, only the time will be reduced due to which we can test more samples. There are many advantages of this machine like lower chances of contamination, increased accuracy and the quick results.