Dr Imogen Wright from South Africa has been selected as one of the top 10 finalists for the 2016 Innovation Prize for Africa. Dr Wright is nominated for creating Exatype, software that is intended to help healthcare workers identify whether an HIV positive person will be responsive to specific ARV drug treatments.
According to the World Health Organization, 71 per cent of HIV/AIDS victims live in Africa, which means there is a great deal of pressure on the continent to deliver ARV treatments.
In response to this, governments usually attempt to provide treatments to all those affected. But an increasingly large number of patients are resistant to the treatments, leading to unsuccessful therapies and increased strain on the HIV/AIDS situation.
Dr Wright offers a crucial solution to this problem with Exatype. The software looks at the results of advanced DNA sequencing of HIV DNA in a patient’s blood. Through analyzing the results, Exatype can detect which of the ARV drugs wont work on the patient, and notify healthcare workers that they should be avoided, which in turn ensures the tailored treatment administered will be successful.
Exatype will help better manage the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and has great potential in being adapted to the treatment of other diseases plaguing Africa, such as TB and Malaria.