May 17, 2020

Increase of drug-resistant HIV in Saharan Africa

Saharan Africa
2 min
Resistance to HIV treatments are rising in Africa
Follow @WDMEllaCopeland The last decade has seen a significant increase in drug resistant HIV, according to experts. An article in the Lancet displayed...

The last decade has seen a significant increase in drug resistant HIV, according to experts.

An article in the Lancet displayed the results of a study of 26,000 untreated HIV cases in sub-Saharan Africa over the last decade, with results showing that resistance to drugs could build up if people fail to keep up with their regimes.

Researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and University College London (UCL), who conducted the study, found the most rapid increase in drug resistance occurred in East Africa, where 29 percent of cases become resistant per year. In Southern Africa, this number was lower at 14 percent per year.


Writing in the Lancet, researchers Dr Silvia Bertagnolio from WHO and Dr Ravinsra Gupta from UCL said: "Without continued and increased national and international efforts, rising HIV drug resistance could jeopardise a decade-long trend of decreasing HIV/Aids-related illness and death in low- and middle-income countries."

Drug resistance is a consequence of people not taking their medication properly, and stands at around 10 percent in the UK and US. In western countries, close monitoring and the availability of other medication mean people can switch to other drugs if they develop resistance.

In an interview with the BBC, Dr Gupta explained that very basic measures could help people to adhere to their regimes, such as access to food and clean water so they can take their drugs, and close monitoring with patients: "This work gives us an early-warning that things could get worse" he said.

More treatment options and closer monitoring of cases could drastically reduce the number of those suffering from resistance in Africa.

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Jun 18, 2021

Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool 

2 min
Skin Analytics uses AI to detect skin cancer and will be deployed across the NHS to ease patient backlogs

An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system. 

NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion. 

Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making. 

In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog. 

Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening. 

DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.

Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges. 

"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”

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