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PERT Assay
Jan 4, 2003

Dear Dr Aberg, please can you let me have any information you have / your thoughts on PERT assays (Product enhanced reverse transcriptase). I have read that they have the high sensitivity of nucleic amplification procedures with the broad detection range of RT tests and that they would detect any retrovirus independent of its genomic sequence, thus excluding infection with abberrabt strains of HIV. Have you come across / aware of this test and what are your thoughts on its application / usefulness

Many thanks

Dr S Martin London, UK

Response from Dr. Jackson

The literature indicates that the PERT assay is as sensitive as PCR based assays in detecting HIV and has the advantage of being able to detect other retroviruses as well. The PERT assay however is not licensed for diagnostic use in the United States.

If you want to read more about the assay, see the references below.


Pyra H, Boni J, and Schupbach J. Ultrasensitive retrovirus detection by a reverse transcriptase assay based on product enhancement. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1994; 91:1544-1548.

Boni J, Pyra H, Schupbach J. Sensitive detection and quantification of particle-associated reverse transcriptase in plasma of HIV-1 infected individuals by the product-enhanced reverse transcriptase assay. J Med Virol 1996; 49:23-28.

Weissmahr RN, Schupbach J, Boni J. Reverse transcriptase activity in chicken embryo fibroblast culture supernatants is associated with particles containing endogenous avian retrovirus EAV-0 RNA. J. Virol. 1997; 71: 3005-3012.

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Restart Med(another combo)

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