Viral Load (PCR; Polymerase Chain Reaction)
Viral load tests are often claimed to detect the genetic material of HIV, either the DNA integrated into cells or the RNA in viral particles circulating in the body. Yet these tests search for only a small fraction of the HIV genome, and HIV has never been properly isolated, a step which would be necessary to allow the genome to be unambiguously determined. Furthermore, the viral load test cannot distinguish between infectious and defective virus, and in some studies only 1 out of 60,000 viral particles was estimated to be infectious. Papers published before PCR was widely available (mostly pre-1990) use different types of test, such as Southern Blot, to detect and measure DNA and RNA.
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© Copyright February 15, 2016: Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society