Background: Most of the quantitation assays for HIV-1 RNA used currently are designed and optimized for HIV-1 subtype B viruses and hence may not be suitable for India, where the predominant subtype is HIV-1 subtype C. Objectives: Development and standardization of HIV-1 TaqMan real time PCR assay suitable for measuring plasma and CSF viral RNA levels in HIV subtype C infected individuals. Study design: A TaqMan real time PCR was developed using primers and probes selected in the gag region for detection of Indian HIV-1 subtype C strain. Plasma (n = 120) and CSF samples (n = 46) obtained from HIV infected subjects were used to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. A comparative evaluation was carried out with a commercially available quantitative HIV viral load assay (Roche Amplicor Version 1.5). Results: The TaqMan assay was able to amplify all HIV-1 group M subtypes except subtype E. Viral loads could be estimated in all the plasma (n = 120) and 40/46 CSF samples obtained from HIV positive subjects. Sensitivity of this assay was found to be 180 copies/ml. Correlation with the commercially available viral load assay was very good (r = 0.885). Conclusions: A TaqMan real time PCR was standardized for HIV-1 subtype C and it was more sensitive (180 copies/ml) than standard Amplicor monitor assay, Version 1.5 (400 copies/ml).
- HIV infection in South India
- HIV-1 TaqMan viral load assay
- Plasma and CSF viral loads
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Immunology and Allergy
- Infectious Diseases