CIRCB Scientific Council: Drug Resistance Under Focus CIRCB

Members of the International Scientific Council of the “Chantal Biya” International Reference Centre for HIV/AIDS Management and Care CIRCB met yesterday, November 20, 2018, during its ninth ordinary session to evaluate research projects conducted at the centre in the course of the year. Chairing the session was Prof. Carlo Federico Perno, Chairman of the Council. He lauded the efforts of the government, particularly the research laboratories at CIRCB for diligently tackling the issue of HIV drug resistance and HIV resistance tests.

Prof. Carlo Federico Perno said although Decree No 2018/507 of September 20, 2018, changed CIRCB into a public administrative institution with hospital status, the centre has a lot of important activities to carry out with the Ministry of Public Health. He noted that the centre is tackling the problem of HIV treatment which is well developed in Africa but, facing major resistance which comes as a result of the virus escaping the pressure of the anti-virus. In order to have treatment effective to patients facing drug resistance, it is necessary to undertake a resistance test which enables doctors to choose the best treatment for the patient. He acknowledged the fact that CIRCB has the technical capacity to carry out such a test for patients who are in need at a moderate price. Prof Carlo Federico praised researchers at the centre for producing so much in becoming the reference centre for the entire country in conducting HIV resis tance test.

The session also permitted the Scientific Council members to study research finding on early diagnosis and prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT), HIV Resistance Tests and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Partnership (EDCTP) project, the “Social Vaccine” programme, HIV co-infections and an outlook for the 2019 scientific work to be carried out at the centre. Talking about HIV co-infections, CIRCB Laboratories Coordinator, Prof. Judith Torimiro said hepatitis B is an infection which is seen more than HIV in Cameroon and amongst suffering from HIV the co-infection rate of hepatitis B is close to 7 per cent. This calls for concern as Prof. Torimiro said it is important for them to look at the impact of one disease over the other. They are out to know how an HIV patient suffering from Hepatitis B will respond to treatment especially given that they are common drugs for both diseases and how both viruses are emerging in that individual in terms of treatment as well as the new strategy in taking care of such patients. Information has revealed that most HIV patients who are tested negative for Hepatitis B are eventually tested positive for Hepatitis B later. Prof Torimiro said it is time for clinicians to start thinking of how often HIV patients should be tested for Hepatitis B.

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