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A highly sensitive and reliable RNA polymerase chain reaction method has been developed which has been used to detect, quantify and sequence cell-free HIV RNA directly from the plasma of seropositive individuals. Plasma from 10 out of 12 haemophiliacs tested was found to contain detectable levels of HIV-1 RNA [log mean value: 1.2 x 10(3) copies for Centers for Disease Control (CDC) group II patients, 5.5 x 10(3) copies for CDC group IV patients]. The presence of cell-free circulating virus in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals suggests that viral replication continues throughout the course of infection. The same procedure has been used to detect and sequence HIV-1 RNA in two batches of unheated commercial factor VIII concentrate distributed in 1981 and 1983. The sequences obtained revealed a closer relationship to North American than to African strains of HIV-1.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





675 - 681


Amino Acid Sequence, Base Sequence, Drug Contamination, Factor VIII, Genes, env, Genes, pol, HIV Infections, HIV Seropositivity, HIV-1, Hemophilia A, Humans, Molecular Sequence Data, Polymerase Chain Reaction, RNA, Viral, RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase