Collaborative study investigates point of care impact

27 August 2020

The CAPRISA 255 Point-Of-care viral load testing to Enhance Re-suppression (POwER) study enrolled its first participant on Thursday 20th August. POwER is a collaboration between the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, the eThekwini Municipality Health Department, the University of Washington, and CAPRISA. The study builds on the successful STREAM study, which found that amongst people who were doing well on antiretroviral therapy (ART), point-of-care HIV viral load testing and task shifting improved viral suppression and retention in care.

Principal Investigator Dr Jienchi Dorward (in the photo) says that ‘POwER will focus on people who have a high viral load, which can be caused by poor adherence to treatment, or HIV drug resistance.

This study will investigate whether point-of-care viral load testing can play an important role in helping people failing ART to re-suppress the virus faster.’

The study is being conducted at the Prince Cyril Zulu Communicable Disease Centre and the CAPRISA eThekwini CRS, and results are expected in 2021.

Photo: L to R: Dr Nigel Garrett (co-PI), Mrs Fathima Sayed (Study Co-ordinator), Sr Nondumiso Mthembu (Research Nurse), Sr Thobile Mhlongo (Research Nurse), Mrs Kaminee Ramsaroop (QC Officer), Dr Nolwazi Mncwabe (Research Clinician), Dr Jienchi Dorward (co-PI). Other co-investigators not pictured: Mrs Hope Ngobese & Dr Yukteshwar Sookrajh (eThekwini Municipality), Dr Richard Lessells (KRISP), Dr Paul Drain (University of Washington), Prof Gail Hayward & Prof Chris Butler (University of Oxford).