Aids Testing

Todd Miller - Pharmacology tmiller at
Mon Sep 11 09:48:21 EST 1995

In article <g.e.price-1009951458100001 at>,
Graeme Price <g.e.price at> wrote:
>When I was working in a hospital virology lab a few years ago, all the
>screening for HIV in serum was by antibody detection (i.e. looking for
>specific Ab to HIV) using the Behring anti-HIV 1+2 ELISA kit. Checking
>with the protocol sheet (like many scientists I never throw anything
>away), the plate was coated with synthetic (recombinant?) peptides from
>the immunoreactive regions of gp41 (2 from HIV-1, 1 from HIV-2) and gp120

This is interesting.  The most immunoreactive regions, to my
understanding, are the variable regions of gp120.  How do the
kit manufacturers include all the possible variants that have
been found in these regions?  In other words, why is it that the
variability of HIV, which is similar to that of say, vertebrates,
is a problem for the body, a problem for vaccine development, 
but no problem at all when it comes to testing for "infection",
ie, in the Western blot?  I know the pat answer is that the
kits probably are measuring ABs to conserved regions, but if
they are conserved, shouldn't these be most likely to be involved
specific functions, ABs to which should block these functions and
keep the virus from doing whatever it is supposed to be doing?

Todd Miller, PhD

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