Measure of Viral Load by Using the Abbott Real-Time HIV-1 Assay on Dried Blood and Plasma Spot Specimens Collected in 2 Rural Dispensaries in Cameroon

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Background:This study aimed to evaluate the use of dried blood spots (DBSs) and dried plasma spots (DPSs) locally collected in 2 rural dispensaries in Cameroon for the quantification of HIV-1 RNA.Methods:Forty-one subjects were sampled and spots of whole blood and plasma were deposited onto Whatman 903 cards and dried at ambient temperature under local conditions. Two sets of DBS and DPS cards were done per patient. The rest of the liquid plasma (LP) was frozen until use. LPs were tested at the “Chantal Biya” International Reference Centre (Yaoundé, Cameroon) by the Abbott Real-Time HIV-1 assay (Abbott Molecular Diagnostics, Wiesbaden, Germany). One series of DBS and DPS was transported and tested between 2 and 6 weeks later at the Virology Laboratory of Saint-Etienne (France). The second series was routed by mail and tested after up to 3 months of storage at ambient temperature.Results:From the first series, the correlation rate between viral loads obtained from LP and DBS, and from LP and DPS, was 0.98 and 0.99, respectively; specificity of DBS and DPS results was 100%. The results obtained from the second series indicate a great stability of DBS after long-term storage.Conclusion:This study demonstrates that DBSs collected under local conditions in resource-limited settings are suitable for the differed quantification of HIV-1 RNA.

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