by XMRV Global Action on Saturday, January 29, 2011:
Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) – Direct detection of viral
genetic material (RNA or DNA) in plasma, cells or blood
using amplification methods
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
Transcription-mediated amplification (TMA)
The NIH Fact Sheet on Transfusion Safety shows that NAT is the test that they use to screen basically all blood in the US for HIV, HCV, and WNV.
THe Blood Working Group refers to NAT throughout reporting its Phase II results, and recommendations for Phase III and IV.
The Blood Systems Research Group also propose using NAT.
I am not one of the science minds in our group, but I wonder if the fact that NAT is used so predominantly in blood screening in the US, including for HIV, another retrovirus, is the reason that we keep seeing PCR usage proposed in studies even though it has proven to not be the best method for finding XMRV. Public health concerns might also be the reason that most studies are looking in the blood for XMRV rather than other locations that have shown more promise.
I have selected most of the sections of the 3 documents that refer to NAT below.
NIH Fact Sheet on Transfusion Safety
A new technology, nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT), greatly improved detection of HIV in donated blood. Previous HIV screening tests relied on detecting circulating antibodies.