Newly Approved HIV Test Can Spot Infection Earlier

Detects both HIV antigen and antibodies

MONDAY, June 21, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Abbott's Architect HIV Ag/Ab Combo assay has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Traditional HIV diagnostics have detected HIV antibodies, which are developed days after an infection as a sign that the body is working to fight the invading virus. The Architect assay also detects the HIV p24 antigen, which is a protein produced by the virus immediately after infection, Abbott said in a news release.

The risk of HIV transmission is highest just after infection with the AIDS-causing virus, the company said.

Since the new test could detect HIV infection days earlier than antibody-only diagnostics, people could be alerted before unknowingly spreading the infection and be treated earlier, Abbott said.

Some 56,000 new cases of HIV infection are diagnosed each year in the United States, the Illinois-based company said, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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