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Methods Mol Biol. 2005;304:229-43.

A new combined HIV p24 antigen and anti-HIV-1/2/O screening assay.

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  • 1Institut für Infektionsmedizin, Universitätsklinikum, Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


It is important to shorten the window period after acute HIV infection in which infected individuals are still antibody-negative, especially in blood donors. Newly developed fourth-generation assays detect antibodies to HIV-1, including subtype O, and to HIV-2 and, simultaneously, p24 antigen of HIV-1. To evaluate this assay for daily routine work we compared it with different third-generation assays using sera from uninfected patients and patients with known HIV infection. The most interesting sera are those drawn during seroconversion from freshly infected patients. Whenever we encounter such a patient with acute HIV infection we store the serum in aliquots at -20 degrees C. Thus, we were able to establish our own seroconversion panel and use it in our laboratory for evaluation of new assays. The new test was shown to be able to detect all chronically HIV-infected individuals and four of six patients during seroconversion although in two of these patients conventional assays for HIV antibodies were still negative. The rate of unspecific reactivities was slightly higher as compared with third-generation assays.

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