Validation of Microcapillary Flow Cytometry for Community-Based CD4+ T Lymphocyte Enumeration in Remote Burkina Faso

The Open AIDS Journal 30 December 2010 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874613601004010171



CD4+ T lymphocyte enumeration plays a critical role in the initiation and monitoring of HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy. There is an urgent need for low-cost CD4+ enumeration technologies, particularly for use in dry, dusty climates characteristic of many small cities in Sub-Saharan Africa


Cross-sectional study


Blood samples from 98 HIV-infected patients followed in a community HIV clinic in Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso were obtained for routine CD4+ T lymphocyte count monitoring. The blood samples were divided into two aliquots, on which parallel CD4+ measurements were performed using microcapillary (Guava EasyCD4) and dedicated (Becton Dickinson FACSCount) CD4+ enumeration systems. Spearman rank correlation coefficient was calculated, and the sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) for EasyCD4 <200 cells/µL were determined compared to the reference standard FACSCount CD4 <200 cells/µL


Mean CD4 counts for the EasyCD4 and FACSCount were 313.75 cells/µL and 303.47 cells/µL, respectively. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient was 0.92 (p<0.001). Median values using EasyCD4 were higher than those with the FACSCount (p=0.004). For a CD4<350 cells/uL, sensitivity of the EasyCD4 was 93.9% (95%CI 85.2-98.3%), specificity was 90.6% (95% CI 75.0-98.0%), and PPV was 95.4% (95%CI 87.1-99.0%)


Use of the EasyCD4 system was feasible and highly accurate in the harsh conditions of this remote city in Sub-Saharan Africa, demonstrating acceptable sensitivity and specificity compared to a standard operating system. Microcapillary flow cytometry offers a cost-effective alternative for community-based, point-of-care CD4+ testing and could play a substantial role in scaling up HIV care in remote, resource-limited settings

Keywords: Low-cost CD4, CD4+ count, EasyCD4 assay, Guava Technologies, Inc, microcapillary flow cytometry, resource-limited setting.
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