The OPP-ERA project
Funded by UNITAID and implemented by a Consortium composed of Expertise France, the ANRS, Solthis and Sidaction, the OPP-ERA Project aims to improve the virological monitoring of people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries by increasing access to HIV viral load testing through the use of Open Polyvalent Platforms (OPPs).
During its first Phase starting in 2013, seven laboratories have been equiped with "open polyvalent platforms" in four countries (Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea). Since August 2014, when the laboratories started performing HIV viral loads, more than 30,000 tests have been performed thanks to the project. The project benefits from close collaboration with national authorities and is implemented in line with national HIV programs and strategies.
OPP-ERA is targeting two types of impact:
- PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACT: Reinforcing access to HIV viral load testing and early infant diagnosis in targeted countries
According to the latest data available, about 15 million HIV patients are under ARV, including 13.5 million in LMICs (WHO HIV Fact Sheet, July 2015). Since it ensures the therapeutic success of patients and the best use of available resources, Viral Load Testing (VLT) is considered by international and national partners as one of the best markers of an appropriate response to HIV for both adults and children. By providing countries with a complementary offer of VLTs through OPPs and by supporting them by a package of services (training of laboratory staff, sensitization of clinicians, support to the transportation of specimen, and other services aiming to address access barriers).
- MARKET IMPACT: Stimulating competition on HIV viral load testing market: new manufacturers and technologies through the promotion of open polyvalent platforms.
The OPP-ERA project also aims to open the market to other manufacturers, hence stimulating competition and technological innovation. By promoting the model of "open polyvalent platforms" (OPPs), the OPP-ERA project promotes a complementary solution to "closed systems" prevalent on the market. Contrary to the "closed systems", OPPs allow to combine different elements (extractors, thermocyclers and reagents) from different manufacturers. This flexibility represents various added values such as the adaptability of the platforms to the demand. Moreover, OPPs can also be used to diagnose and mornitor other pathogens, such as tuberculosis and hepatitis.
The 1st of september 2016, the 2nd phase was officially launched for 3 years, 2016-2019 .
The project was extended in the 4 countries to expand accèss to viral load tests on a wider scale and promote the polyvalence of OPP. Indeed, OPP system is an innovative open molecular biology -based system that allows laboratories to diagnose different infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and Hepatitis.