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Transfusion. 1999 Aug;39(8):904-9.

Absence of human T-lymphotropic virus type I tax sequences in a population of normal blood donors in the Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC, area: results from a multicenter study.

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Transfusion Medicine Scientific Research Group, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.



It was reported recently that sequences corresponding to the human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) tax gene were detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 8 to 11 percent of healthy blood donors without detectable antibodies to HTLV-I. A multicenter blind study was conducted to determine if these results could be independently confirmed.


Specimens were collected from 100 anti-HTLV-I-negative healthy blood donors and from 11 anti-HTLV-I- or anti-HTLV-II-positive individuals. All samples were coded and distributed to each of four independent testing laboratories for polymerase chain reaction analysis to detect sequences of the HTLV-I or HTLV-II tax gene, using detailed procedures specified by the laboratory reporting the original observation. Each laboratory also tested a dilution panel of a plasmid containing HTLV-I tax to determine the analytical sensitivity of the procedure.


The analytical sensitivity of the screening methods permitted detection of as few as 1 to 10 copies of the tax gene. However, HTLV-I tax sequences could not be detected in any of the anti-HTLV-I-negative blood donors at more than one test site.


HTLV-I tax sequences appear not to be present in this population of 100 blood donors negative for anti-HTLV-I.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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