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PCR Patent Tangle Slows Quick Assay of HIV Levels

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Science  06 Jun 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5318, pp. 1488-1491
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5318.1488a

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A Perkin-Elmer subsidiary, PE Applied Biosystems of Foster City, California, has developed a machine called TaqMan that can rapidly quantitate HIV levels in blood--a type of measurement that is widely used diagnostically for assessing the health status of AIDS patients and their responses to therapy. But the TaqMan test requires nucleic acid "probes," and a licensing deal between Perkin-Elmer and Roche Molecular Systems Inc. prevents PE Applied Biosystems from marketing probes for diagnostic use. As a result, researchers have to make their own, or collaborate with Roche Molecular Systems, which is working on probes, but is not yet ready to market them.