HIV viral load testing starts in GMC Jammu

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, July 7: The HIV viral load testing has been started in Government Medical College, Jammu as per the recommendation of World Health Organization.
GMC Jammu has been recognized as one of the important centre by NACO to facilitate HIV viral load testing.
Dr Shashi Sudhan, who is the Head and Principal Investigator and Nodal officer Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Microbiology informed that a proficiency testing panel of 80 blind samples was received through NACO from CMC Vellore and the samples were successfully tested on COBAS 6800 platform in the BSL-3 laboratory as per operational guidelines and a composite report has been generated and submitted.
Earlier, the HIV samples for viral load were sent to PGI Chandigarh by NACO for testing as stated by Dr Shashi. She further added that now the samples will be tested and reported on the same day at established facility.
Dr Shashi emphasized that viral load is regularly measured in developed countries, but access to this facility is still very limited in many low-resource settings, and this leads to delayed switching to second-line anti retroviral treatment (ART) in HIV patients.
She further added that earlier, HIV viral load samples from Jammu were sent to PGI Chandigarh on monthly basis by JKSACS, but this new establishment will overcome the challenges in conducting viral load testing across Jammu region and help in timely diagnosis and Disease mitigation.
Dr Sudhan reiterated that the use of COBAS 6800 platform for this testing will not only ensure accuracy but will also test 96 samples in one go and provide report on same day.