Journal of clinical virology : the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology 2017 05 1392() 56-61 pii 10.1016/j.jcv.2017.05.002
HIV RNA suppression is a key indicator for monitoring success of antiretroviral therapy. From a logistical perspective, viral load (VL) testing using Dried Blood Spots (DBS) is a promising alternative to plasma based VL testing in resource-limited settings.
To evaluate the analytical and clinical performance of the Abbott RealTime HIV-1 assay using a fully automated one-spot DBS sample protocol.
Limit of detection (LOD), linearity, lower limit of quantitation (LLQ), upper limit of quantitation (ULQ), and precision were determined using serial dilutions of HIV-1 Virology Quality Assurance stock (VQA Rush University), or HIV-1-containing armored RNA, made in venous blood. To evaluate correlation, bias, and agreement, 497 HIV-1 positive adult clinical samples were collected from Ivory Coast, Uganda and South Africa. For each HIV-1 participant, DBS-fingerprick, DBS-venous and plasma sample results were compared. Correlation and bias values were obtained. The sensitivity and specificity were analyzed at a threshold of 1000 HIV-1 copies/mL generated using the standard plasma protocol.
The Abbott HIV-1 DBS protocol had an LOD of 839 copies/mL, a linear range from 500 to 1×10(7) copies/mL, an LLQ of 839 copies/mL, a ULQ of 1×10(7) copies/mL, and an inter-assay SD of ≤0.30 log copies/mL for all tested levels within this range. With clinical samples, the correlation coefficient (r value) was 0.896 between DBS-fingerprick and plasma and 0.901 between DBS-venous and plasma, and the bias was -0.07 log copies/mL between DBS-fingerprick and plasma and -0.02 log copies/mL between DBS-venous and plasma. The sensitivity of DBS-fingerprick and DBS-venous was 93%, while the specificity of both DBS methods was 95%.
The results demonstrated that the Abbott RealTime HIV-1 assay with DBS sample protocol is highly sensitive, specific and precise across a wide dynamic range and correlates well with plasma values. The Abbott RealTime HIV-1 assay with DBS sample protocol provides an alternative sample collection and transfer option in resource-limited settings and expands the utility of a viral load test to monitor HIV-1 ART treatment for infected patients.