RT-PCR Detection of HIV in Republic of Macedonia
The aim of the study was to detect HIV RNA in seropositive patients using RT-PCR method and thus, to establish PCR methodology in the routine laboratory works.
The total of 33 examined persons were divided in two groups: 1) 13 persons seropositive for HIV; and 2) 20 healthy persons - randomly selected blood donors that made the case control group. The subjects age was between 25 and 52 years (average 38,5).
ELFA test for combined detection of HIV p24 antigen and anti HIV-1 + 2 IgG and ELISA test for detection of antibodies against HIV-1 and HIV-2, were performed for each examined person. RNA from the whole blood was extracted using a commercial kit based on salt precipitation. Detection of HIV RNA was performed using RT-PCR kit. Following nested PCR, the product was separated by electrophoresis in 1,5 % agarose gel. The result was scored positive if the band of 210bp was visible regardless of intensity Measures of precaution were taken during all the steps of the work and HIV infected materials were disposed of accordingly.
In the group of blood donors ELFA, ELISA and RT-PCR were negative. Assuming that prevalence of HIV infection is zero, the clinical specificity of RT-PCR is 100 %. The analytical specificity of RT-PCR method was tested against Hepatitis C and B, Human Papiloma Virus, Cytomegalovirus, Herpes Simplex Virus, Rubella Virus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Chlamydia trachomatis. None of these templates yielded amplicon. In the group of 13 seropositive persons, 33 samples were analyzed. HIV RNA was detected in 15 samples. ELISA and ELFA test were positive in all samples. Different aliquots of the samples were tested independently and showed the same results. After different periods of storing the RNA samples at -70°C, RT-PCR reaction was identical to the one performed initially. The obtained amplicons were maintained frozen at -20°C for a week and the subsequently performed electrophoresis was identical to the previous one. The reaction is fast, simple for manipulation; with low detection level of 60 IU/ml. RT-PCR needs a small amount of RNA, as well as a small volume of sample. HIV RNA was detected in different periods of time with different clinical presentations in patients, with or without antiretroviral therapy.
RT-PCR method gives the opportunity for reliable determination of HIV-1 RNA with border of detection of 60 IU/ml. The test is reproducible and has high analytical and clinical specificity