NHLS acquires state-of-the-art HIV assay


Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics launched the Combo-HIV assay to it major customers, including the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), at the company’s Johannesburg offices. The Combo-HIV assay will expand the current HIV assay portfolio on both the ADVIA Centaur and the ADVIA Centaur CP systems.

The assay contains both the HIV antibody as well as the HW p24 antigen marker for the early detection of the HW virus. Early detection means that antiretroviral therapy can be initiated on a more immediate basis.

Additional benefits afforded by the Combo -HIV assay are the fact that the typical 21 day window period has been cut down to 12 days.

Melanie Lyon, Product Manager for Immunochemistry at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics explains that the assay is a fourth generation combination test, which has been developed to measure specificity as well as sensitivity. In this way, any false positives are ruled out and results are more accurate.

“In addition, insurance companies require that fourth generation tests are utilised as part of their protocol,” she continues. This is important, as the third generation tests will only detect HW antibodies over a 21 day period. “Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics will, however, continue to manufacture the third generation test, in addition to the HIV-Combo assay,” she adds.

“Essentially the launch of the Combo-HIV assay means that our customers are working with the most up to date solutions for infectious disease testing in their laboratories and will be abreast of their competitors,” Melanie concludes.