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Why do blood banks want to use PCR?
Apr 7, 2001

There seems to have been some investigations by blood banks attempting to convince the FDA to allow them to use PCR instead of p24. Is the reason for this accuracy or economics (or some of both)?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The blood banks are using HIV viral load testing to screen blood units under an exemption from the FDA, that allows them to use the test for HIV diagnosis. Donor samples are currently pooled in batches of 10-25 samples and viral load testing is performed on the pool. If the pool is positive, all units are tested separatedly. The sensitivity for picking up HIV infection prior to HIV antibody appearance, is felt to be marginally improved by using viral load testing in this strategy compared to p24 antigen testing.



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