branched DNA assayJAMA
(bDNA test.) A test developed by the Chiron
Corporation for measuring the amount of HIV (as well as other viruses) in
blood plasma. The test uses a method that creates a luminescent signal whose
brightness depends on the amount of viral RNA (see) present. Test results
are calibrated in numbers of virus particle equivalents per milliliter of
plasma. The bDNA test is similar in results but not in technique to the
PCR test (see). bDNA testing is currently being used to evaluate the effectiveness
of drug treatment regimens and to gauge HIV disease progression. Newer versions,
or generations, of these assays are being developed; they will be able to
detect smaller numbers of copies of HIV in a blood sample. See Viral Burden.
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