The Quantitative Molecular Diagnostics Core develops and applies assays to measure levels of AIDS virus nucleic acids and related analytes in specimens from nonhuman primate (NHP) studies. 

We provide quantitative molecular analyses for laboratories within the AIDS and Cancer Virus Program, the National Institutes of Health, and the extramural research community.   

The core performs testing for SIV and related viruses, with a focus on determining viral RNA and viral DNA levels in specimens derived from macaque models of HIV infection, including cell-free (plasma/CSF), cell, or tissue samples.

We also test for levels of mycobacterial DNA in specimens from nonhuman primate studies of tuberculosis, including in animals co-infected with SIV. 

Viral load monitoring provides critical information for important nonhuman primate studies 

Nonhuman primate experiments are a key element of AIDS research, enabling studies that provide insights into fundamental aspects of pathogenesis as well as proof-of-concept studies for novel approaches to vaccine and non-vaccine prevention of infection and experimental therapies. Monitoring of viral replication through viral load testing of blood and tissue samples is a critical part of such studies. Assays originally developed for use in our program's nonhuman primate studies are made available to external investigators to support a broad and diverse range of research goals. 

Analytical expertise to support a broad range of investigators conducting HIV/AIDS-related nonhuman primate studies

In keeping with our national laboratory mission, we give external investigators access to analytical capabilities originally developed for use in our program's studies to facilitate overall research progress in the field. 

Collaboration Opportunities

We provide viral load analysis for nonhuman primate model studies, including quantitative analysis of AIDS virus RNA and DNA in cell-free and cellular/tissue specimens from NHP studies.

Contact Dr. Jeffrey Lifson to inquire about and engage the core’s services. 

Our capabilities and specializations

Critical, enabling viral load analyses support AIDS virus prevention and treatment studies in nonhuman primate models

Viral load analyses provide a key readout for results in nonhuman primate studies of viral pathogenesis, prevention of infection, and evaluation of experimental intervention to control viral replication or to target the Rebound-Competent Viral Reservoir—virus that persists despite suppressive antiretroviral drug treatment and can initiate recrudescent infection if treatment is stopped and that represents the major barrier to more definitive treatment of AIDS virus infection. 

Additional Content
  • Plasma/CSF viral RNA quantitation

  • Tissue viral RNA and viral DNA quantitation

  • Cell pellet viral RNA and viral DNA quantitation