Three companies are joining forces to help tackle one of the most serious public health challenges of our time – the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Viatris and Atomo Diagnostics (ASX: AT1) have announced an agreement with Unitaid to increase accessibility of HIV self-testing in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs).
The announcement represents significant market expansion, with Unitaid committing to support the supply of 1 million tests to 135 eligible countries for as little as $2 each, decreasing the price by a drastic 50%.
Until now, the market has been dominated by a single oral-based self-test that costs significantly more. The Atomo developed Mylan HIV Self-Test is a handheld device offering unmatched usability that detects the presence of HIV antibodies in a small blood sample from the patient’s fingertip. The test has been prequalified by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
WHO estimates that the global health HIV testing market could be as high as 11 million tests in 2021, increasing to 26 million by 2025.
Unitaid’s Director of Programs, Robert Matiru emphasises that “HIV self-testing is a crucial factor in helping people learn their status- it is one of the key ways in which the global goals for HIV will be achieved.”
Reducing the cost and increasing the accessibility of tests is an important step in removing the stigma associated with the disease and reducing its prevalence. Increasing accessibility to self testing contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for 90% of people living with HIV to know their HIV status.
There are approximately 38 million people across the globe with HIV/AIDS. Only 81% of people with HIV globally know their HIV status. The remaining 19% (over 7 million people) need access to HIV testing and treatment services.
The HIV diagnostics market was valued at USD $2.9 billion in 2017 and has been growing at an annual rate of 8.7% with a value projection of USD $5 billion by 2024.
Atomo’s innovative rapid diagnostic testing platforms have numerous applications for various other pathologies and offer ease of use in any setting. The potential for broad use increases the value of their addressable market to USD $40-45 billion.