What is quantitative PCR?
It is a variant of the classical PCR technique, besides being able to detect a causative agent of an infection, is able to tell us how many there are causative agents, ie, makes a quantification.
This is vital in many cases, as in the case of HIV infection, because it affects the type of treatment to be applied, in addition to success.
Why is it important to quantify HIV infection?
If we stop to think about it, it stands to reason that it is not same as an infection caused by a low number of viruses for a higher number, higher the amount of virus, “worst” is infection.
In the early stages of infection, the amount of virus in the blood is low, and now a shock treatment may be key to avoid developing the disease. As the infection progresses, the amount of virus increases (see link “p24“), which reduces the success of this shock treatment. Therefore, in cases of recent infection is very important to know the amount of virus, or as known technical way, the “viral load”.
In cases of advanced disease, use of quantitative PCR is very important to know whether a treatment is working. If indeed it is, viral load will decrease over time, or at least not increase. This data indicates that the treatment is working. If the amount of virus in the blood increase despite treatment, is indicative of not being effective and warning of the need to change therapy. As you can imagine, having this information is crucial.
What additional benefit provides quantitative PCR?
In addition to its important use in quantifying the amount of virus, quantitative PCR provides an extra advantage: its extreme sensitivity.
As a technique designed to detect early infections, where the viral load is very low, quantitative PCR to detect minute amounts of virus in blood . Classical PCR detected above 200 virus per milliliter of blood serum, while quantitative PCR reaches 20 virus.
What about testing or classical PCR ELISA?
Quantitative PCR has the same advantages that classical PCR for shortening the window period and its high sensitivity (see link “p24” and “antibodies“). Indeed EMPIREO exclusively performed by PCR tests, as we believe it is the best type of test for this type of testing. Our testing by PCR have “CE-IDV mark” and are designed and validated for in vitro diagnosis of HIV.
Choosing an HIV test performed by classical PCR or quantitative PCR depends on you.
The classical PCR is reliable and robust, if you want, you can have reliable results.
Quantitative PCR is also equally reliable and extremely sensitive and your results will take less time.