Utility of POC Xpert HIV-1 tests for detection-quantification of complex HIV recombinants using dried blood spots from Kinshasa, D. R. Congo
Point-of-Care (POC) molecular assays improve HIV infant diagnosis and viral load (VL) quantification in resource-limited settings. We evaluated POC performance in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), with high diversity of HIV-1 recombinants. In 2016, 160 dried blood samples (DBS) were collected from 85 children (60 HIV-, 18 HIV+, 7 HIV-exposed) and 75 HIV+ adults (65 treated, 10 naive) at Monkole Hospital (Kinshasa). We compared viraemia with Cepheid-POC-Xpert-HIV-1VL and the nonPOC-COBAS (R) AmpliPrep/COBAS (R) TaqMan (R) HIV-1-Testv2 in all HIV+, carrying 72.4%/7.2% HIV-1 unique/complex recombinant forms (URF/CRF). HIV-1 infection was confirmed in 14 HIV+ children by Cepheid-POC-Xpert-HIV-1Qual and in 70 HIV+ adults by both Xpert-VL and Roche-VL, identifying 8 false HIV+ diagnosis performed in DRC (4 adults, 4 children). HIV-1 was detected in 95.2% and 97.6% of 84 HIV+ samples by Xpert-VL and Roche-VL, respectively. Most (92.9%) HIV+ children presented detectable viraemia by both VL assays and 74.3% or 72.8% of 70 HIV+ adults by Xpert or Roche, respectively. Both VL assays presented high correlation (R-2= 0.89), but showing clinical relevant >= 0.5 logVL differences in 15.4% of 78 cases with VL within quantification range by both assays. This is the first study confirming the utility of Xpert HIV-1 tests for detection-quantification of complex recombinants currently circulating in Kinshasa.