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HIV DNA PCR and Subtypes

Aug 26, 1998

Dear Doctor Holodniy:

I understand that the RT-PCR viral load test may miss subtype A. What about the DNA PCR test? Will it detect proviral dna associated with all HIV-1 subtypes? Thank you for your time.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The current version of the HIV-1 Monitor test which uses RT-PCR may miss, or detect but be unable to quantitate subtype A plasma RNA. Modifications to PCR gene primers have been made and are currently being tested which allow for this detection. The commercial DNA PCR test because of assay configuration (more PCR cycles yielding more product, which means greater sensitivity), will be somewhat better. PCR is not intrinsically a bad test for this subtype. Once the modifications are incorporated into the commercial kit, this problem will go away. MH

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