Divergent HIV strains and antibody tests 14 October 2003
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Christopher J Noble,
postdoctoral fellow
Bern Switzerland

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Re: Divergent HIV strains and antibody tests

Regarding the antibody tests that include HIV-1 group O specific antigens Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos asks:

"Where are the other tests?"

EnzygnostŪ HIV Integral: recombinant proteins (HIV-1 gp41, HIV-2 gp36, HIV-1 group O gp41) and synthetic peptides (HIV-1 gp41). (1)

AxSYM HIV Ag-Ab assay: recombinant antigens (HIV-1 group M gp41, HIV-1 group O gp41, and HIV-2 gp36) (2)

Murex antigen/antibody assay: recombinant antigens and peptides from HIV-1 group M gp41 and polymerase (pol), HIV-1 group O gp41, and HIV-2 gp36 (2)

Genscreen HIV Plus assay: HIV-1 and HIV-2 antigens (recombinant gp160, artificial functional consensus group O gp41 polypeptide, and synthetic gp36 polypeptide) (2)

VIDAS HIV Duo Ultra assay: antigens (gp160 of HIV-1, immunodominant region peptides of HIV-2 and HIV-1 group O) (2)

BioRad HIV-1/HIV-2 PLUS O EIA: synthetic polypeptide mimicking an artificial HIV-1 Group O-specific epitope (3)

I repeat. The Vironostika HIV Uni-Form II is not an exception as you claim. It is one of many tests that incorporate HIV-1 group O specific antigens. Why did you claim it was an exception when you have obviously not researched this area?

Your previous question "how it is possible with such variability to have proteins which have the same function, to induce the same antibodies which can be detected with a single antibody test, ...?" is based on a set of false premises.

The divergent strains of HIV, such as HIV-1 group O that you have specifically referred to, do NOT induce the SAME antibodies, they CANNOT be detected reliably with antibody tests based on group M strains. The antibody tests that I have listed above now include HIV-1 group O specific antigens precisely because the previous tests lacked sensitivity for these strains.

(1) Journal of Virological Methods

Volume 90, Issue 2 , November 2000, Pages 153-165

(2) Journal of Clinical Microbiology, September 2001, p. 3122-3128, Vol. 39, No. 9

(3) http://www.aegis.com/news/pr/2003/PR030806.html

Competing interests: None declared