In vitro antibody production enables HIV infection detection in window period -- key to safer blood

Jul 24, 2009

Researchers in Israel and Kenya have shown that the contribution of variable degrees of immune suppression, either due to existing chronic infections such as parasitemias and/or nutrition, in different populations may influence and prolong the serological-diagnostic window period of HIV. However, the immunosuppression can be overcome, by in-vitro enhancement of antibody production (termed- Stimmunology).

The results, which appear in the August 2009 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, show that pre-treating the whole blood sample in the SMARTube™ containing immune potentiating agents promoted the synthesis and release of antibodies against HIV-1 prior to their detection in corresponding plasma samples in a group of donors who would otherwise be classified as HIV-1 seronegative .

The identification of techniques that can lead to detection of infection during this window period is of obvious public health importance especially in resource poor settings highlighting the importance of these findings. Overcoming the suppression, in-vitro, led to the production of detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies in the whole blood sample and to the detection of potentially infectious blood units which were missed by regular HIV serology. Interestingly, the ratio of missed infections among the total HIV infected blood donors was higher among the younger (high-school) donors versus adult donors.

The research team, Dr. Jasper Mumo, immunologist from the Department of Human Pathology, University of Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. Ami Vansover, head of the Virology Laboratory, Public Health Laboratories, Ministry of Health, Israel, and Dr. Tamar Jehuda-Cohen, an immunologist, Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, ran the same HIV antibody tests using both regular plasma and SMART-plasma (plasma after the Stimmunology step) from blood donors in Kenyata hospital. Dr. Jehuda-Cohen noted that "this study, offers one of the keys to making the blood supply safer, by overcoming the problem of this protracted window period perhaps unique to certain field study sites with a high incidence/prevalence of HIV-1. This is true not only for HIV but also for other infections such as HCV, which has even a longer window period than HIV"

In summary, in-vitro enhancement of antibody production, made simple by the SMARTube™, has been shown to enable the earlier detection of . This is critical for saving lives not only via a safer blood supply but also by detection of HIV infection among pregnant women who seem to have a very long window period. "A pregnant women testing false negative for HIV will not be offered ART which could have saved her baby" said Dr. Jehuda-Cohen (a mother of seven).

Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine said "The article by Mumo and colleagues may lead to a change in testing paradigms and algorithms in HIV and other infections with a diagnostic window period."

Source: Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (news : web)

Explore further: Cell-associated HIV mucosal transmission: The neglected pathway

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exhausted B cells fail to fight HIV

Jul 14, 2008

HIV tires out the cells that produce virus-fighting proteins known as antibodies, according to a human study that will be published online July 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Scientists find another key to HIV success

Mar 22, 2006

Weill Cornell Medical College scientists say they've determined a protein produced by HIV infected cells prevents immune B cells from producing antibodies.

HIV isolate from Kenya provides clues for vaccine design

Jan 02, 2008

Two simple changes in its outer envelope protein could render the AIDS virus vulnerable to attack by the immune system, according to research from Kenya and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center published in PLoS Medicine.

HIV measurement is questioned

Sep 27, 2006

Preliminary U.S. research indicates the HIV RNA level in untreated HIV-infected patients has little value in predicting the rate of CD4 cell count decrease.

Recommended for you

Cambodia orders probe into mass HIV infection

Dec 18, 2014

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday ordered a probe into an apparent mass HIV infection believed to have been spread by contaminated needles, as the number of suspected cases passed 100.

A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection

Dec 17, 2014

Researchers are reporting another disappointment for efforts to cure infection with the AIDS virus. Six patients given blood-cell transplants similar to one that cured a man known as "the Berlin patient" have ...

User comments : 0

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.