New machine at Mumbai hospital to test HIV viral load in 90 minutes
The machine has four modules with four slots each and so 16 samples can be tested at a timeUpdated: Aug 05, 2017, 01:25 IST
People with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) will now be able to get their viral load results within two hours from KEM Hospital with the commissioning of an advanced diagnosis machine that gives quick test readings.
The test, which reveals number of HIV viruses in the bloodstream and the severity of the infection, is done every six months to chart treatment plans. Moreover, the machine can also run diagnostic tests for tuberculosis and Hepatitis C.
The hospital has got the GeneXpert machine as a part of a project with Mumbai District AIDS Control Society and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international, independent, medical relief organisation. While MSF used to provide supplies for an earlier less-advanced machine, they have paid for the GeneXpert and will also pay for the test kits and salaries of technicians.
Dr Sreekala Acharya, project director, MDACS, said the machine at KEM Hospital is seven to eight years old and involves manual extraction of DNA from the samples. “The current technology takes an entire day and we test about 24-25 samples a day. Also, if number of patients increased, the backlog used to increase and caused delay in issuing reports,” said Acharya.
The new technology would allow doctors to offer results within 90 minutes. At the same time since the machine has four modules with four slots each, 16 samples can be tested at a time. “Going by this pace we would be able to offer 64 viral load results in a day. Moreover, there is minimal chance of contamination because the machine is fully automated and needs minimal human involvement or training,” said Dr Preeti Mehta, head of the department of microbiology.