Blog Post

OS X to Help Fight HIV

We all know OS X is more user-friendly, more aesthetically pleasing, and far less annoying than Windows, but did you know it’s better at fighting life-threatening disease, too? Siemens’ healthcare does, and that’s why they’re now using iMacs running Leopard to support their proprietary TRUGENE HIV-1 Genotyping Kit and OpenGene DNA Sequencing System.

The switch has just received 510(k) clearance from the FDA, so Siemens is cleared to begin using it as soon as the system is in place. FDA 510(k) clearance is a series of requirements any new medial devices must meet, by law, before they can be implemented in practice. The clearance opens the door for other health science and service companies to make similar use of the Apple operating system.

Siemens lists increased patient data storage capacity, expandable patient data management capabilities, faster sequencing times and more customizable reporting functions as the reasons for the selection of OS X.

The Genotyping Kit and DNA Sequencing System the new iMacs will be supporting monitors HIV-1 resistance in patients, and resistance to different drugs. The information gathered is used to generate algorithms that allow oncologists to maintain an adaptive treatment routine, designed to minimize the potential negative effects of mutations which leave HIV resistant to specific medicines.

Macs are gaining ground in medical applications, especially when graphics are important. Radiology departments, specifically, are increasingly using a rewritten, FDA-approved version of an open-source program called OsiriX to produce high-quality x-ray imaging. The reason for the growing presence of OS X in radiology is its superior 3D visualization capabilities, and its cost relative to other high-end imaging software solutions.

Apple is accumulating more FDA approvals, greater industry presence, and getting buy-in from medical students in a wide range of fields. It might not be too long before you find an iMac waiting for you at your next regular check up, or before OS X saves your life…and not just in the usual “Vista was killing me!” way.