Rapid oral HIV test shows great promise

April 11, 2007

A convenient, easy to use, and rapid alternative to blood-based HIV testing may become the new standard for field testing according to a new MUHC study. The study shows that the oral fluid-based OraQuick HIV1/2 test is 100 per cent accurate and patients’ preferred choice.

Senior and lead author Dr. Nitika Pai, a postdoctoral fellow at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), and her colleagues tested 450 individuals for HIV infection at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Sevagram India. Thirty two percent were found to be HIV positive. Researchers compared the diagnostic accuracy of the OraQuick test from two samples - one obtained from oral fluid (saliva) and the other from a blood-based finger stick - with traditional blood tests.

They demonstrated that the oral fluid test had 100 per cent accuracy versus the finger-stick blood test, which showed one false positive (99.7 per cent specificity). There was little reported discomfort during sample collection for the oral test, but 66 per cent of the individuals reported discomfort with the finger testing.

Although the oral OraQuick test has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, some previous studies had indicated that it was not sufficiently precise. As a result, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) called for more definitive studies leading to this study in rural India.

"Based on our findings, the oral test is the preferred choice for HIV field testing by rural Indians," says Dr. Pai, a physician epidemiologist supported by the Canadian HIV Trials Network. "The other advantages are that results are available within 40 minutes compared to the standard blood test, which takes up to two weeks. This test can also be performed by health workers with minimal training, eliminating the need for specialist laboratory technicians."

"Rapid point of care HIV testing is a very important component of HIV control initiatives and programs. In particular, non-invasive, simple, accurate oral fluid-based, rapid tests have the potential to make a big impact on HIV screening. They open the door to the possibility of home-based HIV testing," she says.

Source: McGill University

Explore further: New method for modifying natural polymers could help bring lifesaving medications to market

Related Stories

Hormonal contraception does not appear to increase HIV risk

December 7, 2006

Using hormonal contraception does not appear to increase women’s overall risk of infection with the AIDS virus, report the authors of a large study commissioned by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.