Researchers from Quanterix have published a study in the Journal of Virological Methods demonstrating use of the company's Simoa single-molecule immunoassay system for detecting HIV infection.
According to the company, the Simoa platform was able to detect HIV with more than 3,000 times greater analytical sensitivity than conventional immunoassays and at a level comparable to the current gold standard, nucleic acid testing.
In the study, the researchers used Simoa to detect p24 capsid protein in patient blood, which indicates the presence of HIV. They analyzed serial samples from 10 HIV-infected individuals, detecting infection at the same time as nucleic acid testing and seven to 10 days earlier than standard immunoassays.
In a statement, David Wilson, vice president of product development at Quanterix and lead author on the paper, suggested that the lower cost of the Simoa system could make it an attractive alternative to nucleic acid-based tests for HIV screening.
Nucleic acid testing "was the most sensitive method for early acute HIV detection, but its use is cost prohibitive for routine HIV screening, particularly in lower resource settings," he said. "Our data indicate that acute HIV infection can be detected with a simple, low-cost Simoa digital immunoassay as early as NAT methods."
The Simoa platform uses arrays of femtoliter-sized reaction chambers designed to isolate single molecules, enabling each well to serve effectively as an independent assay for a single molecule.
Quanterix has traditionally focused on developing the platform for protein-based tests such as prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s diagnostics, but in the last year it has been branching out into pathogen detection in hopes of positioning the platform as an alternative to PCR-based tests (PM 8/19/2012).