Roche, Clinton Foundation Partner To Deliver HIV Tests to Infants in Africa
Pharmaceutical company Roche and the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative have partnered in an effort to increase access to HIV testing among infants in 24 sub-Saharan African countries, Rwanda's New Times reports. According to the agreement, Roche will deliver diagnostic tests at reduced costs to children younger than 18 months in the region who have been exposed to HIV. The company also will supply products to collect and process dried blood samples, which will be procured by CHAI. Dry blood spot methodology can provide advantages in resource-poor settings, where storage and transportation pose challenges (Buyinza, New Times, 2/6).
Knut Seifert, senior vice president of International Public Health Organizations for Roche, said that because infants are "particularly vulnerable to the disease, it is crucial to know whether or not children have been exposed to HIV/AIDS as soon as possible," adding, "Together with CHAI, we are proud and happy to be able to bring in our diagnostics expertise and products in order to make a difference for the youngest and most vulnerable HIV/AIDS patients" (Accra Mail/AllAfrica.com, 2/6).
According to 2007 statistics from the World Health Organization, more than 90% of HIV cases among children occur in sub-Saharan Africa (New Times, 2/6).