Genetic testing prevents abacavir hypersensitivity in HIV patients
The genetic risk of abacavir hypersensitivity in HIV patients can be established in whole blood samples using a new microarray based on EUROArray Direct technology. The DNA test identifies the presence of the HLAB* 57:01 allele, which is the main genetic factor associated with adverse reactions to abacavir-containing drugs. The EUROArray HLA-B*57:01 analysis is fast and simple and does not require any in-depth molecular biology knowledge. Gene sections are first amplified from the samples by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The use of whole blood as starting material significantly reduces the costs and hands-on time required. The PCR products are then incubated with Biochip microarray slides containing immobilized complementary DNA probes. Results are evaluated and interpreted fully automatically by specialized software (EUROArrayScan). Meticulously designed primers, ready-to-use PCR components and integrated controls all contribute to the reliability of the analysis. In studies using precharacterized samples, the microarray demonstrated 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity. Abacavir is an important chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of HIV patients. Nevertheless hypersensitivity reactions occur in 48-61% of Caucasian, 8-16% of black African and 20-22% of Hispanic carriers of the HLA-B*57:01 allele undergoing treatment, compared to 0-4% of non-carriers. Therefore, all HIV-infected patients, regardless of their ethnicity, should be tested for the presence of the HLA-B*57:01 allele before starting treatment with drugs containing abacavir sulphate (e.g. Ziagen tablets and suspension, Kivexa tablets and Trizavir tablets).