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Nucleic Acid Test Screens for HIV

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31 -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the nation's first nucleic acid test to detect the presence of HIV in donated blood and tissue.

Nucleic acid is a chemical compound that makes up the genetic material in cells. The cobas TaqScreen MPX Test screens for nucleic acid from HIV-2 and HIV-1 Group O, strains of HIV that are commonly found in Africa, the agency said in a news release. These infections also have been detected in the United States.

In addition, the test detects the most common form of the virus that causes AIDS, HIV-1 Group M, as well as two forms of hepatitis -- hepatitis C and hepatitis B.

The test is designed to be used on blood specimens obtained when the donor's heart is still beating. It's not meant to test plasma intended for further manufacturing.

The test is produced by California-based Roche Molecular Systems Inc.

More information

To learn more about HIV testing, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Posted: December 2008