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Viral load by PCR versus branch dna
Jan 7, 1999

I am a medical technologist and our lab is about to start testing for hiv by branch DNA. Previously we were sending out our specimens for viral load by PCR to a reference lab. Now we are wondering how do the numbers compare between the two methods? Is there a formula that we can use to convert the numbers so the doctors know how to compare the results. Hope you can give us some help.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

This is a very important question. The current PCR test (HIV-1 Monitor, Roche) with a cutoff of 400 copies/ml, usually gives a viral load value of 2 times greater than the Chiron 2.0 bDNA viral load assay (500 copy/ml cutoff). The new version of the Chiron assay (version 3.0, 50 copy/ml cutoff), gives values about 2 fold greater than version 2.0, or about equal to the current PCR based test. When switching assays you should always rebaseline with 2 assays. MH



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