Journal of clinical microbiology

Leukodepletion as a point-of-care method for monitoring HIV-1 viral load in whole blood.

PMID 25428162


In order to limit the interference of HIV-1 cellular nucleic acids in estimating viral load (VL), the feasibility of leukodepletion of a small whole-blood (WB) volume to eliminate only leukocyte cell content was investigated, using a selection of filters. The efficacy of leukocyte filtration was evaluated by counting, CD45 quantitative PCR, and HIV-1 DNA quantification. Plasma HIV-1 was tested by real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. A specific, miniaturized filter was developed and tested for leukocyte and plasma virus retention, WB sample dilution, and filtration parameters in HIV-1-spiked WB samples. This device proved effective to retain >99.9% of white blood cells in 100 μl of WB without affecting plasma VL. The Samba sample preparation chemistry was adapted to use a leukodepleted WB sample for VL monitoring using the point-of-care Samba-1 semiautomated system. The clinical performance of the assay was evaluated by testing 207 consecutive venous EDTA WB samples from HIV-1-infected patients attending a CD4 testing clinic. Most patients were on antiretroviral treatment (ART), but their VL status was unknown. Compared to the Roche Cobas AmpliPrep/Cobas TaqMan HIV-1 test, the new Samba assay had a concordance of 96.5%. The use of the Samba system with a VL test for WB might contribute to HIV-1 ART management and reduce loss-to-follow-up rates in resource-limited settings.