UNITAID-FIND Partnership To Scale Up Hepatitis C Diagnostics 04/10/2016 by Alexandra Nightingale for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Initiating a new partnership today, global health initiative UNITAID and the non-profit FIND began a project that will work towards the improvement, affordability and availability of diagnostics and treatments for the hepatitis C virus (HCV). UNITAID-FIND press briefing at the UN today New medicines have revolutionised HCV treatment in high-income countries, yet the lack of appropriate diagnostic tools for HCV infection remains a challenge. Catharina Boehme, chief executive officer of FIND, outlined that HCV is “a silent killer which goes unnoticed until it is almost too late.” Accordingly, 85 percent of cases occur in low- and middle-income countries, with fewer than 1 percent of persons aware of their infection. The US$38.3 million project aims to develop “better, simpler, point-of-care diagnostic tools for HCV, and will introduce HCV testing and treatment in HIV programmes” with national governments and local implementation partners in Cameroon, Georgia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, over the next three years. In a press conference, Boehme expressed her hope that “the project will serve as a model for many other countries and will be a springboard to scale up diagnosis and treatment globally, and that governments will take the evidence resulting from the project to scale up HCV within HIV programmatic settings.” Lelio Marmora, executive director of UNITAID, highlighted that the project is about much more than just introducing the treatment, as political space will be opened in the respective countries to reinforce a HCV strategy to create fiscal space and political momentum. Meg Doherty, treatment coordinator within the Department of HIV & Global Hepatitis Programme at World Health Organization, which supports the project, said it will fill an important gap and address a global public need by identifying HIV positive persons, scaling up treatment and looking for ways to reduce prices of the new important drugs. “Today’s new project aims to: make new HCV point-of-care products ready for purchase; make HCV diagnostic tests and treatments available in the health systems of the project countries; lower the prices of HCV testing and treatment; and use findings from the FIND project to drive global and regional policy towards scaling up HCV management,” according to the UNITAID release. The joint press release by UNITAID and FIND on today’s project launch can be found here. Alexandra Nightingale is a researcher at Intellectual Property Watch. She completed her Bachelors in Law at the University of Sussex and holds an LLM degree in International Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. During her Masters, she developed a strong interest in Intellectual Property, particularly patents and the aspects relating to global health. Her research interests now also include geographical indications and trademarks. Image Credits: Alexandra Nightingale Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Alexandra Nightingale may be reached at email@example.com."UNITAID-FIND Partnership To Scale Up Hepatitis C Diagnostics" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.