Genetic testing for HLA-B*57:01 is performed to prevent hypersensitivity reactions against the HIV chemopharmaceutic agent abacavir. Around 8 % of people carry the HLA-B*57:01 allele (range: Japanese 0.1 %, South Africans 19.6 %). It can be assumed that 8 to 61 % of HIV patients who carry this allele and are treated with abacavir will develop a hypersensitivity to the drug within six weeks. Manifestations are fever, exanthema, pruritus, gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, joint pain and increased liver/kidney parameters with a progressive course up to death, especially with re-exposure. Therefore, it is recommended that all HIV-infected patients, regardless of their ethnicity, should be tested for the presence of the HLA-B*57:01 allele before starting a treatment with abacavir.
The EUROArray HLA-B57:01 Direct allows fast and simple molecular genetic determination of HLA-B*57:01 alleles in human genomic DNA. All currently known HLA-B*57:01 alleles are detected in a single test run and the EUROArrays are automatically evaluated using the established EUROArrayScan software. The direct method allows the direct use of blood samples without prior time and cost-consuming DNA isolation.