The relevance, previously suggested by some authors, of anti-nef antibody detection as an early marker of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection was examined with a sensitive liquid phase radioimmunoassay by investigating: (1) the kinetics of appearance of anti-nef-antibodies in a set of 77 longitudinal sera collected from 12 HIV-infected donors at the time of seroconversion; and (2) nef serology in a population of 32 HIV seropositive and three seronegative hemophiliacs and their seronegative or seropositive sexual partners. The results obtained showed that anti-nef antibodies could not be detected in the sera tested independently of the appearance of antibodies specific to HIV structural proteins. Thus, the detection of anti-nef antibodies appears to be of little diagnostic value.

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