A Pharmacogenetics Kit for ARV Treatment Optimisation

A Pharmacogenetics Kit for ARV Treatment Optimisation



Over 10 million people are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa. The use of ART is however associated with numerous adverse drug reactions. Efavirenz is an antiretroviral drug used to treat HIV/AIDS, metabolized by the enzyme CYP2B6, and people with low CYP2B6 enzyme activity experience severe neuropsychiatric adverse effects if given the standard dose of the drug. These adverse effects are associated with change of treatment to more expensive second-line treatments, poor treatment adherence resulting in possible emergence of drug resistance, stigma and poor economic productivity.


The Project Involves

  • The development and commercialization of a diagnostic test and dosing algorithm for the safe use of the anti-retroviral drug, Efavirenz. The pharmacogenetic test establishes the genetic status of patients with respect to the enzyme, CYP2B6.
  • A cost-effectiveness/benefit analysis (CE/BA) to demonstrate the huge cost savings in the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients this genetic test and dosing algorithm will result in for Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Validation for registration by the regulatory authorities.



In population studies across Africa, it has been shown that over 20% of the people are of this low activity genetic status. It is estimated that out of the 3.5 million patients on Efavirenz in Zimbabwe and South Africa, over 700 000 would require dose adjustment based on this genetic status and can benefit from this project. The project will be conducted in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and the results will be generalisable for the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.  


Project Team

Prof Collen Masimirembwa

Team Leader and Principal Investigator

The African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST) - Zimbabwe



Prof Collet Dandara

Deputy Team Leader

University of Cape Town - South Africa



Ms Lizzie Nyamweda

Business Consultant

Primergy Investments - Zimbabwe

Project Type

Seed project

Countries involved