Brighton professor to assist World Health Organization

A School of Health Sciences professor has been appointed to advise a World Health Organization (WHO) project aimed at ensuring people have access to high-quality tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The temporary appointment will see Professor Nigel Sherriff, the University’s Professor of Public Health and Public Promotion, assisting the ‘Sexually Transmitted Infection Point-of-care Testing’ (ProSPeRo) study, established by the WHO’s Reproductive Health and Research Department of World Health Organization, to evaluate and implement low-cost point-of-care tests (POCTs).

This follows a year of data collection involving the recruitment of men who have sex with men (MSM) who presented at the Sexual Health and Contraception Service at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

He and colleagues looked at POCT duo tests that can test for HIV and syphilis at the same time among MSM attending the clinic, and then seeing how well the tests compared to gold-standard reference testing.

Professor Nigel Sherriff

Professor Nigel Sherriff

Professor Sherriff, Deputy Head of School (Research and Enterprise) and from the University’s Centre for Transforming Sexuality and Gender, said: “We pooled our data with data from around the world to generate the largest-ever data set on this issue to ultimately validate the use of these tests which can be particularly useful in resources-poor settings for identifying new infections without the need for expensive laboratory confirmation testing.”

Professor Sherriff will be attending a global technical meeting in December in the Italian city of Verona on POCTs for STIs in 15 countries covering 21 research sites including Brighton. The preliminary objectives of the meeting will be to:

  • Discuss the results of the independent multi-country clinic-based and clinic-utility evaluation of diagnostics within the Global Evaluation Network (15 countries 21 sites)
  • Discuss an investment case to support introduction of STIs POCT into national STI-screening, case management and surveillance systems.
  • Initiate the development of WHO guidelines on the use of STI POCT for screening, case management and surveillance, including to determine the scope and positioning of guidelines on STI POCT.
  • Develop a draft Target Product Profile for a multiplex STI POCT platform with a capability to detect antimicrobial resistance as well as STI POCT for self-testing.

For more on Professor Sherriff, go to: https://research.brighton.ac.uk/en/persons/nigel-sherriff and for more on the WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, visit: https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/about_us/en/

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