Founded in 2016, the Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) Consortium was established through a collaboration between researchers and partner organisations, as a way of sharing information in order to fast track innovative diagnostic techniques that detect HIV in infants.
The need for such a collaboration is underscored by the fact that improved diagnostic technologies for infant HIV saves lives. Antiretroviral treatment in the first months of life can reduce HIV-related mortality by up to 75%. However many children, particularly in resource-poor regions such as Africa, do not have access to HIV testing. For this reason, researchers from study sites in nine different countries - Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe - and partner organisations, including the African Society for Laboratory Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) Prequalification of In Vitro Diagnostics (IVDs) Programme, have formed a collaborative effort to evaluate, and thus accelerate the adoption of, new technologies to increase early infant diagnosis of HIV.
This will be done through the sharing of research outputs and recommendations, communicating best practice and evaluation results; collaborative evaluations; funding of point-of-care device placement; quality assurance efforts and political advocacy support.
Ultimately, the increased uptake of EID is intended to decrease infant mortality by ensuring that infants are initiated onto antiretroviral therapy at a far earlier stage.