(Tuesday, June 15, 2004 Posted: 4:23 PM EDT (2023 GMT))
Any of you that know me, know I have some fairly unorthodox views about the HIV/AIDS issue. For now, let’s leave it at that. But this new screening process may be a real, solid breakthrough, ostensibly light-years ahead of even Kary Mullis’s Nobel-prize-winning PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technique. It sounds like this test actually gets at the genomic “heart” of HIV, rather than aimlessly counting fallen antibodies like the standard, scandalously unreliable tests do.
I got $20 that says this new test, if sound and if applied, drops the inflated AIDS rate in the USA by at least 10% per year.
A new test for the AIDS virus that detects proteins inside the microbe may be more sensitive than existing tests, U.S. researchers said.
The test, which can also be adapted to detect the misshapen prions that cause mad cow disease and related sicknesses, may be useful for screening donated blood and monitoring patients, the developers at the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology said Monday.
They said it is 25 times more sensitive than the best technology currently available.
Writing in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, Constantine's team said the new test detects an inner protein of the virus known as p24, rather than detecting antibodies or viral nucleic acids, as current tests do.
"Each virus particle contains about 3,000 molecules of p24 as compared with only two copies of nucleic acid, so there's a greater amount of target to detect," Constantine said.
"It's an advance over current methods in that we can detect down to the equivalent of two copies of RNA as compared with current methods which have been validated to only 50 copies," his colleague, Janet Barletta, added in a statement. . .