Publications & Reports

Comparison of two human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) RNA surrogate assays to the standard HIV RNA assay.

Jennings C, Fiscus SA, Crowe SM, Danilovic AD, Morack RJ, Scianna S, Cachafeiro A, Brambilla DJ, Schupbach J, Stevens W, Respess R, Varnier OE, Corrigan GE, Gronowitz JS, Ussery MA, Bremer JW
Rush Medical College, Department of Immunology/Microbiology, 1653 W. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. [email protected]


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) RNA testing is the gold standard for monitoring antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected patients. However, equipment and reagent costs preclude widespread use of the assay in resource-limited settings. The Perkin-Elmer Ultrasensitive p24 assay and the Cavidi Exavir Load assay both offer potentially simpler, less costly technologies for monitoring viral load. These assays were compared to the Roche Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor Test, v1.5, using panels of clinical samples (subtype B) from HIV-positive subjects and HIV-spiked samples (subtypes A, C, D, CRF_01AE, CRF_02AG, and F). The Ultrasensitive p24 assay detected 100% of the spiked samples with virus loads of >250,000 copies/ml and 61% of the clinical samples with virus loads of 219 to 288,850 copies/ml. Detection rates were improved substantially if an external lysis buffer was added to the procedure. The Cavidi assay detected 54 to 100% of spiked samples with virus loads >10,000 copies/ml and 68% of the clinical samples. These detection rates were also greatly improved with a newly implemented version of this kit. Coefficients of variation demonstrate good reproducibility for each of these kits. The results from the Cavidi v1.0, Cavidi v2.0, and Perkin-Elmer, and the Perkin-Elmer Plus external buffers all correlated well with the results from the Roche Monitor Test (r = 0.83 to 0.96, r = 0.84 to 0.99, r = 0.58 to 0.67, and r = 0.59 to 0.95, respectively). Thus, the use of these two assays for monitoring patients, together with less-frequent confirmation testing, offers a feasible alternative to frequent HIV RNA testing in resource-limited settings.


  • Journal: Journal of Clinical Microbiology
  • Published: 01/12/2005
  • Volume: 43
  • Issue: 12
  • Pagination: 5950-5956

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