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what does it mean?
Feb 26, 2012

dear doctor, i did a HIV-1 quantitative real time PCR which says the result is viral copies / ml is less than detectable limit(<100). what does that mean? does this test amplify viral RNA or DNA or the virus number itself? If it quantifies RNA/DNA, then why they say the result in terms of viral copies/ml instead of RNA copies or DNA copies /ml? my last question: in few articles i saw the reference lowest level for this test is <40 copies/ml, then why this lab detects only copy number >100? regards.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thank you for posting.

If a test says viral copies, this is synonymous to RNA or DNA (allowing for 2 RNA copies per virus).

Different tests have different levels of detection. Some are more sensitive than others (ie., 40 versus 100 copies), but for all practical purposes, they are clinically equivalent.

Hope that helps, BY

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