Point-of-care p24 antigen detection for early infant diagnosis of HIV infection: cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in Zambia

Catherine G. Sutcliffe*, Jane Mutanga, Nkumbula Moyo, Abhishek K. Agarwal, Jessica L. Schue, Mutinta Hamahuwa, Kara M. Palamountain, Mark J. Fisher, Robert Elghanian, Philip E. Thuma, William J. Moss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Early infant diagnosis of HIV infection is challenging in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in rural areas, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment. Use of a point-of-care test would overcome many challenges. This study evaluated the validity of a novel point-of-care p24 antigen detection test (LYNX) in rural and urban settings in southern Zambia. Methods: Two studies were conducted: a cross-sectional study from 2014 to 2015 at Macha Hospital (LYNX Hospital study) and a longitudinal study from 2016 to 2018 at 12 health facilities in Southern Province, Zambia (NSEBA study). In both studies, children attending the facilities for early infant diagnosis were enrolled and a blood sample was collected for routine testing at the central lab and immediate on-site testing with the LYNX test. The performance of the LYNX test was measured in comparison to nucleic acid-based testing at the central lab. Results: In the LYNX Hospital study, 210 tests were performed at a median age of 23.5 weeks (IQR: 8.9, 29.0). The sensitivity and specificity of the test were 70.0 and 100.0%, respectively. In the NSEBA study, 2608 tests were performed, including 1305 at birth and 1222 on children ≥4 weeks of age. For samples tested at birth, sensitivity was 13.6% (95% CI: 2.9, 34.9) and specificity was 99.6% (95% CI: 99.1, 99.9). While specificity was high for all ages, sensitivity increased with age and was higher for participants tested at ≥4 weeks of age (80.6%; 95% CI: 67.4, 93.7). Children with positive nucleic acid tests were more likely to be negative by the LYNX test if their mother received antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy (60.7% vs. 24.2%; p = 004). Conclusions: Considering the high specificity and moderate sensitivity that increased with age, the LYNX test could be of value for early infant diagnosis for infants ≥4 weeks of age, particularly in rural areas where centralized testing leads to long delays. Point-of-care tests with moderate sensitivity and high specificity that are affordable, easy-to-use, and easily implemented and maintained should be developed to expand access to testing and deliver same-day results to infants in areas where it is not feasible to implement nucleic acid-based point-of-care assays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Diagnostics
  • Pediatric HIV
  • Point-of-care
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases

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