Hunting HIV and Hepatitis Viruses: A Conversation with BBC World News

Abbott's one-of-a-kind program helps keep pace with these threats.

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Diagnostics Testing | May 15, 2018

Why do we need to track HIV and hepatitis viruses?

In a television interview with BBC World News, Dr. John Hackett, Jr. highlights why Abbott has a powerful tool to keep pace with these viruses.

"HIV and hepatitis viruses can evolve to produce different strains at a very rapid rate," said John Hackett, Jr., Ph.D., divisional vice president of applied research and technology for Abbott's Diagnostics business, in an interview on BBC World News. "The challenge that poses to diagnostic tests and blood screening tests is that if new strains emerge, they may not be detected accurately or reliably by these tests. Recognizing this problem, that's why in 1994, we created the Abbott Viral Surveillance Program—the goal being able to monitor the diversity of these viruses globally and to ensure that the tests we create could reliably detect all strains."

Why focus on the Asia Pacific region?

Hackett spoke with Babita Sharma, BBC World News Anchor, about why Abbott includes the Asia-Pacific region in the company’s Global Surveillance Program:

  • Nearly half the world's population is in the Asia-Pacific region1
  • The Asia-Pacific region has the second highest prevalence of HIV in the world; the region also carries a major part of the global burden of viral hepatitis.2-3
  • "Because every strain is literally a plane ride away from somewhere else," added Hackett.

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References

1Population. United Nations. http://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/population/
2HIV and AIDS in Asia and the Pacific: Regional overview. AVERT. https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/asia-pacific/overview
3Fast facts: Viral hepatitis. Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific. http://www.cevhap.org/index.php/about-viral-hepatitis/fast-facts