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Federal Guidelines Recommend New HIV Testing Method
Date:3/27/2013

MADISON, N.J., March 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new test based on gene sequencing may be used to assess a patient's suitability for treatment with CCR5 antagonists, a class of HIV antiretroviral therapies, under new medical guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The new genotypic test performs comparably to the standard culture-based phenotypic tropism technique for predicting response to CCR5 antagonists, but at about half the cost and with faster results, according to Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the leading provider of diagnostic information services. Quest Diagnostics is believed to offer the only genotypic HIV tropism test service in the United States to demonstrate comparable performance to the standard phenotypic method, previously the only method available nationally to help physicians predict response to CCR5 antagonists.

"CCR5 antagonists can be an important component of an effective and well-tolerated drug combination in some HIV-infected patients. Tropism testing is a requirement for using this drug class, and fast test results facilitate timely treatment decisions," said Jonathan M. Schapiro , MD, director of HIV/AIDS at the National Hemophilia Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel. "The inclusion of genotypic tropism testing by the DHHS HIV Guidelines is a very welcome development. Faster, cost-effective diagnostics are greatly needed to improve HIV management."

Testing for HIV tropism is necessary to predict response to CCR5 antagonist therapy. This therapy can help slow HIV disease progression in patients with a certain type of tropism, but offer no known clinical benefit in patients with other forms of tropism. Tropism refers to a type of cellular mechanism by which the HIV
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics
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