04 August 2022 | Thursday | News
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The NPHL operates under Kenya's Ministry of Health and plays an important role in the nation's healthcare by providing reference testing for key diseases and in response to disease outbreaks. It is currently embarking on a program to trace and curb spread of COVID-19 in Kenya, an effort funded by The Global Fund.
The Global Fund is an international financing and partnership organization that aims to attract, leverage and invest additional resources for prevention, treatment and care programs of diseases such as AIDS, TB and malaria.
Vela Diagnostics has an extensive infectious diseases portfolio, with solutions to support COVID-19 testing. These include the ViroKey® SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test v2.0, a test for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infections, and the ViroKey SARS-CoV-2 ID RT-PCR Test, which quickly identifies specific strains and potential variants of concern.
Especially relevant to the Kenyan NPHL's surveillance efforts is the ViroKey SQ FLEX SARS-CoV-2 Genotyping Assay, a next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based test for detecting genomic mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome from nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs. The accompanying reporter software automatically calls out mutations and classifies them by lineage, providing critical insights to the molecular epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 infections.
Dr Leonard Kingwara, Head of the Genomics and Molecular Surveillance Laboratory Unit in Kenya, attests to the efficiency of Vela Diagnostics' SARS-CoV-2 genotyping assay in results generation, as well as its utility for expanding the scope of pathogen public health surveillance. "Vela Diagnostics' genotyping assay ensures timely results through automation and reduction of hands-on procedures. This has facilitated timely result releases for various research projects," says Dr Kingwara.
"We are very excited to be appointed as the primary supplier for genotyping kits for the Kenyan NPHL," says Dr Andreas Goertz, Managing Director of Vela Diagnostics EMEA. "This grants us an invaluable opportunity to expand our presence in Africa, including South Africa where our HIV genotyping assay is currently undergoing registration for sales in the country."
The Sentosa® SQ HIV-1 Genotyping Kit is a US FDA De Novo designated NGS assay for detecting HIV-1 drug resistance mutations (DRMs). "Our HIV-1 genotyping solution is the only commercially available NGS solution authorized by the FDA for sale in the US, and can detect down to 5% mutation frequency; more sensitive than traditional Sanger sequencing-based platforms. It also detects for mutations in the three most common drug target regions in one test, providing comprehensive mutation profiles for clinicians to decide on the optimal antiretroviral therapy to prescribe," says Rachel Yap, Global Product Manager for Vela Diagnostics.
"We believe our HIV-1 genotyping assay can act as a key tool in global efforts to curb the HIV pandemic and help achieve the goal of '90-90-90'," says Sam Dajani, CEO and Chairman of the Board for Vela Diagnostics, referring to the "90-90-90" treatment target originally created by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). It calls for 90% of HIV-infected individuals to be diagnosed by 2030, 90% of whom will be on antiretroviral therapy and 90% of whom will have achieved sustained virologic suppression.