Abbott’s ARCHITECT – HIV test approved by FDA


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) weakens body’s ability to fight infections and causes diseases AIDS.  John Hackett, Jr., Ph.D., research fellow and manager, emerging pathogens and Virus Discovery at Abbott revealed that “Every nine and a half minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV. That’s 56,000 new cases each year – enough to fill the baseball stadium in many U.S. cities.”  It is necessary to detect presence of HIV in an infected person at early rather than later. 

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a diagnostic test developed by Abbott, which can detect HIV antigen.  This new test has ability to catch the HIV infections at early stage.  Let us take a take a look, why Abbott believes that this HIV diagnostic test makes a difference.

What happens in body when it is infected by virus?
Body responds to a virus infection by a serious of reactions.  The virus produces antigen, a protein in the host body, immediately after infection.  Body’s defense mechanism is activated as a results and person’s immune system produces antibodies to fight this foreign matter. Generally, antibodies are formed days after the infection.

How is this diagnostic test novel to detect HIV?
Abbott Laboratories developed an assay test called ARCHITECT, which is highly sensitive and has ability to detect antigens, i.e., catch the infection at an early stage before formation of antibodies.  Existing test can detect only antibodies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that antibody-only tests can miss nearly 10% of infections in many high-risk populations.

What type of HIV infection...

can the test detect?

Abbott acknowledged that ARCHITECT will be able to diagnose both HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections in adults, pregnant women and children 2 years and older. HIV-1 is found around the world and responsible for most HIV infections, while HIV-2 is seen primarily in West Africa.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health said that “By accurately determining someone’s HIV infection status as early as possible, you not only can help that individual access needed treatment, care and counseling, but also may prevent new infections.  Dr. Fauci told that it will give two fold benefit, firstly people who know at early stage about HIV infect will avoid unsafe behavior so that other people do not get infected.  Secondly, infected individuals can take antiretroviral medications that likely will help make them less infectious to others.

HIV is a threat to humans as there is no sure shot cure for the disease.  At the same time, in countries like Africa it is spreading like an epidemic. I think the test developed by Abbott to detect early stage HIV not only be promising for infected patients but also be helpful in reducing the spread of this life threatening infection.

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