Managing the HIV infection in Malawi: the role of molecular diagnostics
The DREAM program has since the beginning believed that the use of diagnostics and laboratory monitoring is necessary to guarantee quality treatment to its patients. It was the first program that opened in Africa, and the first to steadily make use of molecular biology laboratories. Considering only Mozambique and Malawi, the DREAM laboratories have carried out until now more than half a million viral loads. With 300,000 people assisted, of whom the first few in treatment for about 15 years, new challenges came up, among which the need to look into HIV drug resistance. It is for this reason that, in collaboration with various institutions and research institutions, DREAM is committed to studying drug resistances and describing existing mutations and polymorphisms, also considering the various subtypes circulating in the areas DREAM operates. The program is also involved in developing a sustainable method for diagnostics that answers to the local needs.
To this effect, a training and operational research internship took place in June in Novara (Piedmont), in collaboration with the University of Eastern Piedmont (UPO) and the doctorate school of medical biotechnologies. The project saw the collaboration of biologist Richard Luhanga, Country Director of the DREAM laboratories in Malawi. His presence was also an opportunity to hold a seminar depicting the HIV / AIDS situation in Malawi, paying particular attention to the role of the molecular biology laboratories. It was also a chance to explain how, also thanks to the help of the DREAM program, Malawi is fighting the disease. Thanks to the willingness of many people in the University and the availability of the laboratories, but also to local supporters that contributed economically to the fulfillment of the internship, we work towards making accessible a test which will become increasingly necessary also in Africa for better managing the HIV patient in treatment.