Roche Real-Time HIV Test Is Faster And Less Labor-Intensive

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Roche Diagnostics' newly developed, automated real-time PCR test for HIV provides shorter turnaround time and less hands-on labor than one of its main competitors.

The study, conducted by Medical Laboratory Bremen, concludes that Roche's new HIV-1 test used with the COBAS Ampliprep/COBAS TaqMan (CAP/CTM) can save laboratories 30 minutes of workflow time and can process up to 50 percent more samples in a one-day shift, compared with Abbott's RealTime HIV test using m2000sp and m2000rt.

The research compared 102 plasma samples from HCV patients, 109 samples from HIV patients and 10 samples from negative donors. Roche has filed with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for approval to use the HCV test on the CAP/CTM in the United States. The widely used, semi-automated COBAS Amplicor Monitor assay served as the reference test.

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"The results indicate that real-time PCR assays can improve on the efficiency of end-point PCR tests by better covering viral dynamic ranges and providing high throughput and automation," said Dr. Dietmar Wolff, author of "Comparison of the Roche COBAS Amplicor Monitor, Roche COBAS Ampliprep/COBAS Taqman and Abbott RealTime Test assays for quantification of hepatitis C virus and HIV RNA."

In addition, the study highlighted some key performance differences between the COBAS Ampliprep/COBAS Taqman and Abbott RealTime assays using m2000sp and m2000rt.

Workflow is so critical to laboratories that Wolff wanted to develop a practical measurement by running the systems at full capacity in a one-day shift simulation.

"CAP/CTM could process 72 samples in a one-day shift, while RealTime could only process 48 samples," Wolff said. "This difference is due to the significant reduction in manual intervention required by CAP/CTM, an integrated system in which samples are processed for extraction and real-time PCR by two dedicated instruments physically linked by a robotic arm."

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