Volume 35, Issue 5 (September 1990)
Determination of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Antibody Status in Forensic Autopsy Cases in Vancouver Using a Recombinant Immunoblot Assay
Sera from 207 forensic autopsy cases were tested for the presence of antibody to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) using a recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA) technique developed by Chiron Corporation of Emeryville, California—the Chiron RIBA™-HIV216 test system. Out of these cases, 172 autopsies were of individuals with no known risk factors for HIV infection, and of these, 169 had no detectable antibodies to HIV. In 2 cases, the serum reacted with p24 alone on the RIBA™-HIV216 assay, but these results were not confirmed by further testing and are considered to be false positive reactions. In I case, the serum reacted only with gp41 on the RIBA™-HIV216 test but was nonreactive with further testing. This result has been designated equivocal. Of the 35 cases at high risk of HIV infection, 4 had antibodies to HIV detected in postmortem serum samples. The sensitivity (100%) and specificity (98.5%) of the RIBA™-HIV216 test system are high. However, the test appears to be more suitable for routine diagnosis of HIV infection than for rapid screening in the mortuary.