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Lancet. 1994 Nov 12;344(8933):1333-4.

Sensitivity of United States HIV antibody tests for detection of HIV-1 group O infections.

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Division of HIV/AIDS, National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333.


Infections by highly divergent strains of HIV-1, first detected in central Africa and grouped provisionally as group O, have not been reliably detected by certain European HIV screening tests. Serum specimens from eight probable group O infections from Cameroon were tested by ten HIV assays licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration. All assays based on synthetic peptides or recombinant antigens failed to detect at least one of the infections; assays based on whole-virus lysates performed better. Divergent HIV strains may be undetected by current HIV tests. Thus active surveillance for and characterisation of HIV variants to evaluate and, when necessary, modify current tests is urgently needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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