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J Med Virol. 1995 Dec;47(4):330-5.

Use of polymerase chain reaction and quantitative antibody tests in children born to human immunodeficiency virus-1-infected mothers.

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  • 1European Collaborative Study Coordinating Centre, Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom.


The diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in children born to HIV-infected mothers is complicated by the presence of passively acquired maternal antibodies, and exclusion of infection in these infants remains problematic. The use of genome detection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and the quantification of anti-HIV-1 antibodies were examined as methods for early diagnosis. Blood samples were taken from 84 non-breast-fed infants of HIV-infected mothers in five Italian and Spanish centres, a subgroup of children enrolled in the European Collaborative Study (ECS) for whom clinical and immunological information has been documented from birth. Whole blood was added to glycigel cryopreservative, stored, and tested in the United Kingdom by a nested PCR method. Antibody to HIV-1 was detected and quantified by titration using a gelatin particle agglutination test. PCR sensitivity and specificity were assessed. Twenty-one of the 84 children tested were infected. The estimated PCR sensitivity ranged from 0% (95% CI 0-26%) on day 1, 57% (19-85) on day 7, to 63% (33-92) on day 30. The negative predictive value of PCR ranged from 85% (83-88) on day 0 to 98% (94-100) at 3 months of age. On average, the level of maternal antibody halved every 33 days (31-36.5) in uninfected children. Between 6 and 9 months of age, increases in antibody titres in infected children were not more informative than absolute levels. These findings suggest that antibody measurement may supplement genomic diagnosis and that this collection method provides an alternative to the use of dried blood spots.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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