CD4 Enumeration Technologies: A Systematic Review of Test Performance for Determining Eligibility for Antiretroviral Therapy
A single-platform technology that uses an internal bead standard and three-color flow cytometry to determine CD4 and CD8 absolute counts was evaluated for reproducibility and agreement. Values obtained using TruCount absolute-count tubes were compared to those obtained using a two-color predicate methodology. Sixty specimens from human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected donors were shipped to five laboratories. Each site also analyzed replicates of 14 human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected local specimens at 6 h and again at 24 h. The interlaboratory variability was significantly less with TruCount (median difference in percent coefficient of variation [%CV] between the two methods was -8% and -3% for CD4 and CD8, respectively) than with the predicate method. Intralaboratory variability was smaller, with a median difference in %CV of -1% for both CD4 and CD8 with 6-h samples and -2% and -3% for CD4 and CD8, respectively, with 24-h samples. Use of TruCount for shipped samples resulted in a median CD4 count change of 7 cells (50th estimated percentile) when all laboratories and CD4 strata were combined. For on-site samples, the median CD4 count change was 10 CD4 cells for 6-h samples and 2 CD4 cells for 24-h samples. Individual site biases occurred in both directions and cancelled each other when the data were combined for all laboratories. Thus, the combined data showed a smaller change in median CD4 count than what may have occurred at an individual site. In summary, the use of TruCount decreased both the inter- and intralaboratory variability in determining absolute CD4 and CD8 counts.