Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Zurich, Switzerland, have identified a test for monitoring the progression of HIV in the early stages of the disease, which is less expensive than current tests used to monitor the progression of HIV. The test, called HIV-1 protein 24 (p24) antigen, predicts disease progression as well as CD4 lymphocyte count and HIV-1 RNA viral load, which are currently used to determine when patients should start antiviral drug therapy to prevent AIDS. The study, "Heat-Denatured Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Protein 24 Antigen: Prognostic Value in Adults with Early-Stage Disease," appears in the Oct. 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Timothy R. Sterling, MD, a study co-author and assistant professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said, "The test could be used to determine when to initiate antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected persons. And because it costs much less than both CD4 lymphocyte count and HIV-1 RNA viral load, the heat-denatured p24 antigen test could be of particular benefit in developing countries, where the burden of HIV infection is great."
According to Dr. Sterling, CD4 lymphocytes and HIV-1 RNA are excellent predictors of disease progression and response to therapy and are used to determine when to initiate antiretroviral therapy. However, the current tests to monitor CD4 lymphocytes and HIV-1 RNA are expensive. The heat-denatured assay separates antigen-antibody complexes and increases the detection of p24 antigen in patients during the early-stages of the disease.
"P24 antigen is a protein in HIV. The test is administered by drawing blood from a patient, heating the plasma, and then measuring the amount of p24 antigen found in the sample. Higher levels of p24 indicates a greater risk of disease progression," explained Dr. Sterling. The authors found that a p24 level of 5 pg/ml wasPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Kenna L. Brigham
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
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