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Data Suggests New Antigen-Antibody Combo Test Useful for High Volume Public Health Screening
Date:2/9/2009

and Abbott, blood samples were collected every six months from men who have sex with men (MSM) participating in the U.S. Behavioral Intervention Study (EXPLORE). The men were HIV antibody negative at enrollment in the study. The previous seronegative specimens from patients who subsequently tested HIV antibody positive were tested individually with two different HIV RNA assays. Those determined positive by both methods were classified as acute infections. The specimens were then tested with the Abbott ARCHITECT(R) HIV Ag/Ab (antigen/antibody) Combo assay and two third-generation HIV antibody tests.

The Abbott combination assay detected 61.9 percent (13) of the acute infections. Only 14.3 percent (3) of the acute samples were identified as positive by one of the third-generation antibody tests. There were a total of 21 acute infections among 217 samples from seronegative individuals.

"The HIV Combo assay detected nearly two-thirds of early, acute HIV infections in a high-risk population, suggesting that this test can be useful for high-volume public health outreach screening to identify acute HIV infections," Hackett said.

University of Washington, Kings County and Seattle Public Health

In another study presented at CROI, researchers from the University of Washington, Kings County and Seattle Public Health tested 14,005 MSM with HIV antibody tests from 2003 through 2008. Overall, 328 individuals (2.3 percent) were positive for HIV antibodies, and 36 of those who tested negative were classified as positive after pooled HIV RNA testing. The HIV antibody tests detected 90 percent of the infected samples.

Sixteen of the 36 samples that tested negative for HIV antibodies and positive with the RNA test were then tested with the Abbott HIV Ag/Ab Combo assay. Of the 16 RNA-positive samples, 15 (94 percent) were detected by the Abbott HIV/Ab Comb
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