Clinical chemistry, July 2006, Vol.52(7), pp.1258-66
Current HIV-1 viral-load assays are too expensive for resource-limited settings. In some countries, monitoring of antiretroviral therapy is now more expensive than treatment itself. In addition, some commercial assays have shown shortcomings in quantifying rare genotypes. We evaluated real-time reverse transcription-PCR with internal control targeting the conserved long terminal repeat (LTR) domain of HIV-1 on reference panels and patient samples from Brazil (n = 1186), South Africa (n = 130), India (n = 44), and Germany (n = 127). The detection limit was 31.9 IU of HIV-1 RNA/mL of plasma (〉 95% probability of detection, Probit analysis). The internal control showed inhibition in 3.7% of samples (95% confidence interval, 2.32%-5.9%; n = 454; 40 different runs). Comparative qualitative testing yielded the following: Roche Amplicor vs LTR assay (n = 431 samples), 51.7% vs 65% positives; Amplicor Ultrasensitive vs LTR (n = 133), 81.2% vs 82.7%; BioMerieux NucliSens HIV-1 QT (n = 453), 60.5% vs 65.1%; Bayer Versant 3.0 (n = 433), 57.7% vs 55.4%; total (n = 1450), 59.0% vs 63.8% positives. Intra-/interassay variability at medium and near-negative concentrations was 18%-51%. The quantification range was 50-10,000,000 IU/mL. Viral loads for subtypes A-D, F-J, AE, and AG yielded mean differences of 0.31 log(10) compared with Amplicor in the 10(3)-10(4) IU/mL range. HIV-1 N and O were not detected by Amplicor, but yielded up to 180 180.00 IU/mL in the LTR assay. Viral loads in stored samples from all countries, compared with Amplicor, NucliSens, or Versant, yielded regression line slopes (SD) of 0.9 (0.13) (P 〈 0.001 for all). This method offers all features of commercial assays and covers all relevant genotypes. It could allow general monitoring of antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings.
HIV Long Terminal Repeat ; HIV-1 ; Viral Load ; Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction -- Methods
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