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Detection of Acute HIV-1 Infection by RT-LAMP
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  • Description:
    A rapid, cost-effective diagnostic test for the detection of acute HIV-1 infection is highly desired. Isothermal amplification techniques, such as reverse-transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), exhibit characteristics that are ideal for the development of a rapid nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) because they are quick, easy to perform and do not require complex, dedicated equipment and laboratory space. In this study, we assessed the ability of the HIV-1 RT-LAMP assay to detect acute HIV infection as compared to a representative rapid antibody test and several FDA-approved laboratory-based assays. The HIV-1 RT-LAMP assay detected seroconverting individuals one to three weeks earlier than a rapid HIV antibody test and up to two weeks earlier than a lab-based antigen/antibody (Ag/Ab) combo enzyme immunoassay (EIA). RT-LAMP was not as sensitive as a lab-based qualitative RNA assay, which could be attributed to the significantly smaller nucleic acid input volume. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of detecting acute HIV infection using the RT-LAMP assay. The availability of a rapid NAAT, such as the HIV-1 RT-LAMP assay, at the point of care (POC) or in laboratories that do not have access to large platform NAAT could increase the percentage of individuals who receive an acute HIV infection status or confirmation of their HIV status, while immediately linking them to counseling and medical care. In addition, early knowledge of HIV status could lead to reduced high-risk behavior at a time when individuals are at a higher risk for transmitting the virus.

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