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Viral Load Tests
May 31, 2001

Dear Dr. Holodniy,

(1) If the Chiron HIV-1 RNA-bDNA test cannot detect all subtypes of HIV-1, how does the medical community determine a viral load if present? (2) Are there other tests which will identify the viral load? (3) Lastly, would you expect a person that has been infected for nine years to have an "undectable" viral load ( < 50), even if they have never started medication? Thanks for your continued superb work!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The Bayer bDNA assay can detect almost all the relevant strains of HIV-1. There are other experimental assays being developed which also detect almost all relevant strains. PCR and other based assays can detect HIV DNA in cells from patients in the absence of plasma based viral load. There is a small percentage of the infected community who have been infected for years and have no detectable plasma viral load.



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