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Testing for Reverse Transcriptase
Jul 30, 2005

Dear Dr. Holodniy, I have a question regarding the enzyme reverse transcriptase. Is the enzyme present in all HIV infections, as well as other retroviruses. If so, how do you test for the enzyme in a patient?

Thanks a lot.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

THe enzyme is present in all HIV infections and other retroviral infections. We don't normally test for the RT or RT activity directly. A western blot test, will detect antibodies that have developed against the RT part of the virus. A new test for viral load measures RT function and converts this to copy number. Finally, some HIV med resistance tests will detect the RT DNA sequence or partially measure its function in the presence of various HIV drugs.



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