Background: A new nucleic acid-based assay (simple amplification-based assay [SAMBA]) for rapid visual detection of human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) by dipstick is described. The assay was designed to be simple, stable, robust, self-contained, and capable of detecting a broad spectrum of HIV-1 subtypes and recombinant forms.
Methods: The performance of the SAMBA HIV-1 test (amplification and detection chemistry) was evaluated using the World Health Organization HIV-1 RNA Genotype Reference Panel, with clinical samples representing various viral subtypes and recombinant forms common in sub-Saharan Africa. Sixty-nine randomly selected and blinded clinical samples that had undergone HIV-1 genotypic resistance analyses in a large London teaching hospital were also tested. These samples included 14 different viral subtypes or recombinant forms with viral loads of 78-9.5 x 10(6) copies/mL.
Results: The sensitivity and viral subtype coverage of the SAMBA HIV-1 test were either comparable to or better than those of the commercially available nucleic acid-based HIV-1 diagnostic tests.
Conclusions: The unique characteristics and competitive performance of the SAMBA HIV-1 test render it suitable for point-of-care and near-patient testing in both developed and developing countries.