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

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
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases

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