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Relationship Between Viral Load and Number of Viral Particles

May 30, 2010

Forgive me if this question has been asked before but I'm a bit confused. As I understand it, a viral load test determines the number of copies of RNA per cubic milliliter of blood. Since each viral particle contains two strands of RNA, does this mean that, for example, a viral load of 40,000 copies/mm3 equals 20,000 viruses/mm3?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Essentially yes. But nobody really talks about particles and viral load is understood to be copies/mL and not particles/mL.

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