Indian Journal of Microbiology

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 147–152 | Cite as

Application of Polymerase Chain Reaction to Detect HIV-1 DNA in Pools of Dried Blood Spots

  • Vemu Lakshmi
  • Talasila Sudha
  • Dandona Rakhi
  • G. Anilkumar
  • Lalit Dandona
Original Article


Nucleic acid tests that detect HIV infection at an early phase are available and have been applied on individual dried blood spot (DBS). The present study was undertaken with an aim to evaluate the feasibility of performing PCR for HIV-1 DNA on pools of DBS as an alternative to individual testing. Standardization of PCR by a modified Amplicor HIV-1 DNA assay version 1.5 (Roche molecular diagnostics, USA), on pooled DBS was performed using five confirmed HIV reactive samples with known low viral load of HIV-1 and HIV non-reactive samples in pools of 5, 10 and 20 DBS. After successful standardization of pooling procedure, a total of 183 pools (of 10 DBS each) were prepared from 1,823 DBS samples, collected from a population-based study that tested negative for HIV antibodies and p24 antigen. All these pools were screened for HIV-1 DNA by the Amplicor assay. Standardization of pooling procedure indicated that pooling of 10 DBS gave an optimum result. Out of 183 pools tested, one pool of 10 samples was positive and of these ten DBS that were tested individually to identify the positive DBS, one sample was detected to be positive for HIV-1 DNA. Our study demonstrates that PCR for HIV-1 DNA can be successfully performed on pools of DBS. However, this may be needed only on specialized studies of HIV and not for routine epidemiology studies as only a very small fraction of cases would be missed if only antibody/antigen testing were done.


Dried blood spots (DBS) Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Pooling strategy HIV screening 


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Copyright information

© Association of Microbiologists of India 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vemu Lakshmi
    • 1
  • Talasila Sudha
    • 1
  • Dandona Rakhi
    • 2
  • G. Anilkumar
    • 2
  • Lalit Dandona
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Nizam’s Institute of Medical SciencesHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Public Health Foundation of IndiaNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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