Justen Manasa, MPhil, PhD

GHES LMIC Fellow 2016-2017

Fellowship Site: University of Zimbabwe
U.S. Institution: Stanford University 

Project Title:  Genotypic drug resistance monitoring for optimal anti-retroviral therapy in Zimbabwe

Dr. Manasa is currently a Senior Lecturer and Biomedical Scientist at the University of Zimbabwe. His fellowship focused on increases in HIV ART drug resistance, equitable access to molecular diagnostics (virus load and genotyping) to improve the effectiveness of treatment programs.

HIV drug resistance monitoring plays a very key role in the selection and sequencing of antiretroviral drugs in public health treatment regimens. Optimizing the sequencing of antiretroviral therapy is a bottleneck in the switching of patients failing 2nd line therapy to 3rd line. Affordable can genotyping and bioinformatics provide data on drug resistance to optimize future treatment options, monitor the evolution of resistance in individuals and communities and anticipate the dynamics of the epidemic in marginalized and at risk populations.

The overall objective of the research was to  leverage on the advances in sequencing and bioinformatics technologies in order to provide better real time monitoring of HIV drug resistance in Zimbabwe for improved patient treatment outcomes.

This fellowship leveraged collaborations built between a 3rd line antiretroviral therapy referral treatment site in Harare, the Biomedical research & training institute, the African Institute of Biomedical science & Technology and the Stanford University Centre for AIDS Research. The aim of the collaboration is to aid in the improvement of the disease outcomes in patients being switched to 3rd line through genotype based optimization of ART.

Selected publications associated with this fellowship are listed.