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Replication capacity
Aug 27, 2004

What exactly is meant by replication capacity and how can this be tested? Has this become an important part of HIV care??? Can you explain. I have been infected with HIV for 15 years and this is the first I heard of this.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your question.

Replication capacity (RC) is a measurement of how well a patient's virus grows in the test tube, compared to a generic (non-drug resistant) virus. RC is a way of thinking about how well a patient's virus grows in the patient. Viruses that grow as well as the generic virus have a RC of 100 (%), those that grow less well have RCs less than 100. The test is only available commercially when ordered with a phenotypic test from Virologic.

It has been suggested by a number of observational studies that patients that have virus with a lower RC may have a survival benefit, even before treatment is initiated.

RC is not commonly used for persons who are treatment naive, but RC tests are believed to be helpful in deciding on what therapies to use in persons who have drug resistance-- particularly in situations where achieving undetectable viral loads is not possible. In this later situation, looking for treatments that result in mutations associated with lower RCs may be the only measure of virologic success.

Hope this helps. BY



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