A test commonly used to confirm HIV infection can also be used to calculate how many recent infections have occurred in a population, according to a study by University of Zurich researcher Jörg Schüpbach and colleagues, published in PLoS Medicine.
Diagnosing recent HIV infection usually involves special testing to detect antibodies produced early on in the course of infection. The researchers showed that analyzing data already available from an antibody test routinely used to confirm HIV infection in Switzerland can accurately estimate the proportion of people who became infected within the previous 12 months.
The antibody test (INNO-LIA HIV I/II Score, produced by the Belgium-based company Innogenetics) is not currently approved for HIV screening in the United States and is not generally used in developing countries. The test could, however, provide a cost-effective means to improve HIV surveillance in countries that already use it for confirming HIV infection.
Citation: Schupbach J, Gebhardt MD, Tomasik Z, Niederhauser C, Yerly S, et al. (2007) Assessment of recent HIV-1 infection by a line immunoassay for HIV-1/2 confirmation. PLoS Med 4(12): e343
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