On 18 August, we joined the community in paying tribute to Kofi Annan, a man who changed the global health landscape with the establishment of The Global Fund. Recognizing the impact that epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria have on global development, Annan made fighting these diseases a priority in his role as Secretary General of the United Nations.
Today, the UN has global health on the agenda again, as the health community gears up for the first-ever High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis that will take place during the UN General Assembly in New York next month. During the event we will be co-hosting a side-meeting on integrating TB and HIV care in the context of universal health coverage. Newly published data have shown that testing patients for TB using point-of-care Xpert MTB/RIF at the time of HIV diagnosis reduced mortality in people with advanced HIV in rural Malawi.
We continue to look for ways in which we can leverage diagnostic technologies across multiple disease areas. Last month, we published a study evaluating a new version of the blood transfer device that we co-developed with Injection 74 for malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) which has a greater volume, allowing its use with other rapid tests, such as HIV and sleeping sickness RDTs.
Unitaid has now released their end of project evaluation of our work with WHO to improve quality control for malaria RDTs. The report highlights the impact of the project in overcoming market barriers – leading to better, quality-assured malaria RDTs that are now more accessible for end-users. This initiative has now been fully transferred to WHO.
And finally for this month, hot on the heels of a raft of new partnerships that we announced at the end of July to explore potential new technologies and implementation strategies for hepatitis C (HCV) diagnosis, we have also just announced that we will be kicking off evaluation studies to assess the performance of genedrive’s qualitative HCV diagnostic assay next month in Cameroon and Georgia.