HIV-1 viral load
The laboratories have to use a PCR based method that has a lower quantification limit of 50 copies/ml or below.
External Quality control
All laboratories involved in the SHCS have to be accredited.
- Viable peripheral blood mononuclear cells (once in a calendar year): three aliquots of at least 1,5 Mio cells are stored in liquid nitrogen or in -150°C freezers.
- Plasma: 5 aliquots of 1 ml plasma retrieved at each cohort visit and stored at –75°C. If viral load is undetectable since at least 2 years, plasma is stored only once a year.
- Purified DNA: a central repositorium of DNA has been established in 2002 in Lausanne in the context of the core genetic project. Samples of purified DNA from patients who gave informed consent for genetic analyses are aliquoted and stored.
Retrieval of blood samples
Individual samples needed for patient care can be used without permission from the Scientific Board. The retrieval of these samples nevertheless has to be announced to the data centre.
- Samples can be used for research if the corresponding study protocol has been accepted by the Scientific Board.
- The sample request has to be made by the data centre.
- The laboratories are paid for sample retreval:
- For a request of 1 to 6 samples, a flat sum of CHF 50.- will be billed.
- If more than 6 samples are requested, independently of the number of aliquots, the laboratory will bill CHF 8.- per sample.
- The costs for packaging (dry ice, boxes) and shipment will be added.
The samples have to be shipped and treated as infectious material.
As of November 2016, the SHCS repositorium contains 131’007 samples of viable cells and 228’152 samples of plasma from different timepoints corresponding to more than 1 million tubes.