Discordances with HIV-1 RNA quantitative determinations by three commercial assays in Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo

Bianca Bruzzone, Francesca Bisio, Patrizia Caligiuri, Franc A. Mayinda Mboungou, Nicola Nigro, Laura Sticchi, Agostina Ventura, Francesco Saladini, Maurizio Zazzi, Giancarlo Icardi, Claudio Viscoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurate HIV-1 RNA quantitation is required to support the scale up of antiretroviral therapy in African countries. Extreme HIV-1 genetic variability in Africa may affect the ability of commercially available assays to detect and quantify HIV-1 RNA accurately. The aim of this study was to compare three real-time PCR assays for quantitation of plasma HIV-1 RNA levels in patients from the Republic of Congo, an area with highly diversified HIV-1 subtypes and recombinants.The Abbott RealTime HIV-1, BioMérieux HIV-1 EasyQ test 1.2 and Cobas AmpliPrep/Cobas TaqMan HIV-1 1.0 were compared for quantitation of HIV-1 RNA in 37 HIV-1 seropositive pregnant women enrolled in the Kento-Mwana project for prevention of mother-to-child transmission in Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo. The sample panel included a variety of HIV-1 subtypes with as many as 21 (56.8%) putative unique recombinant forms.Qualitative detection of HIV-1 RNA was concordant by all three assays in 33/37 (89.2%) samples. Of the remaining 4 (10.8%) samples, all were positive by Roche, three by Abbott and none by BioMérieux. Differences exceeding 1. Log in positive samples were found in 4/31 (12.9%), 10/31 (32.3%) and 5/31 (16.1%) cases between Abbott and BioMérieux, Roche and BioMérieux, and Abbott and Roche, respectively.In this sample panel representative of highly polymorphic HIV-1 in Congo, the agreement among the three assays was moderate in terms of HIV-1 RNA detectability and rather inconsistent in terms of quantitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-106
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Virological Methods
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Africa
  • Kento-Muana
  • Non-B subtypes
  • Real-time PCR
  • Viral load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Medicine(all)


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