A new type of HIV test uses microspheres to capture antibodies that indicate an infection. Because it can measure much smaller amounts of the antibodies, the test may help more accurately determine the efficacy of vaccines. For decades, the gold standard for first-line HIV antibody screening has been the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test. Investigators compared the ELISA to the microsphere-based BioPlex Suspension Array System in their ability to detect simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in SIV-infected rhesus macaques. They published their findings in the journal BioResearch Open Access.

The researchers found that the microsphere-based test represented a significant improvement over the ELISA. The tests were comparable in their ability to accurately detect four important HIV antibodies in the monkeys, compared with uninfected control macaques. However, the BioPlex test was often able to detect antibodies in blood samples of monkeys who otherwise tested negative with the ELISA. Thus, the new test can detect smaller amounts of antibodies. Such improved tests could identify people earlier in the course of their HIV infection or could more accurately assess the response to a vaccine.

To read a release on the study, click here.

To read the study, click here.