James J Whitehead,
Long Term Survivor ,Clinnical trials volunteer, member Altheal
40A Josephine Avenue, London SW2 2LA
Dear Editor, When I first read this I was reminded of a 1 page editorial by Sir John Maddox then Editor of Nature Sept 30 1991 headed "Aids research turned upsidedown".
In this paper Sir John describes two papers , two vaccine research groups (Hoffman Canada National Acadamy of Sciences), working on a vaccine for hiv in mice and the British Biological Control Standards Authority working on a vaccine for SIV.
Both groups showed that with both viruses that when innoculated with foreigne lymphocytes that did not contain either HIV or SIV 50 % developed antibodies(gp120 and p24) to HIV and SIV when neither virus was present.
Also bald mice geneticaly bread for lupus had hiv antibodies as well.
Roland ME et al. Pitfalls of HIV RNA testing in the San Francisco post-exposure prevention (PEP) project.
Conf Retroviruses Opportunistic Infect. 1999 Jan 31-Feb 4;6(101):
The high rate of R E P E A T false positive tests in a given sample (50%) suggests a possible biologic mechanism.”
“18 subjects had 1 or 2 positive results with v.2.0 and an undetectable confirmatory test for a false positive rate of 4.4%.
The rate is similar at baseline (9/183 subjects = 4.9%), wk. 4 (7/162= 4.3%) and wk. 26 (2/44 = 4.5%). Of the 18 pos. specimens, 9 tested pos. once and 9 T W I C E.
With version 3.0, 11 of 67 samples tested were pos. (16.4%). 6 were pos. once and 5 T W I C E. The range of false pos. rates was 9.1% at wk. 4 (total of 22 specimens) to 26.7% at wk. 26 (total of 15 specimens). A week 4 sample with two values of 8,000 copies/ml on v.2.0 was neg. by DNA PCR, p24 antigen and Western Blot.
Follow-up testing of this subject at wk. 26 was negative for HIV antibody and RNA.
Discussion: The emotional impact of a false positive screening RNA test in a RECENTLY EXPOSED PERSON is significant.
With the high false positive rate, WE DO NOT ADVOCATE the routine use of HIV RNA tests to screen ASYMPTOMATIC people. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Competing interests: Long Term Survivor ,Clinnical trials volunteer, member Altheal