Research Articles

The use of readily available biomarkers to predict CD4 cell counts in HIV-infected individuals

Yusuf Moolla, Zaheer Moolla, Tarylee Reddy, Nombulelo Magula
South African Family Practice | Vol 57, No 5 : September/October| a4306 | DOI: | ©
Submitted: 15 June 2015 | Published: 01 September 2015

About the author(s)

Yusuf Moolla, Department of Internal Medicine, Addington Hospital, Durban, South Africa; and Department of Internal Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Zaheer Moolla, Department of General Surgery, Addington Hospital, Durban, South Africa
Tarylee Reddy, Medical Research Council, Biostatistics Unit, Durban, South Africa
Nombulelo Magula, Department of Internal Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Background: The use of readily available biochemical investigations to predict the CD4 cell count in HIV-infected patients may provide clinicians with insight regarding disease severity at first contact. The aims of the study were to determine the relationship of calculated globulin and white cell count (WCC) with CD4 cell count.

Methods: Data were collected prospectively from ambulatory HIV-infected, anti-retro viral therapy (ART) naive patients at the HIV clinic of King Edward Hospital, Durban, between 2010 and 2012.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 39 ± 9.53 years and 70% were female. Median calculated globulin and WCC was 49 g/l and 4.74 × 109 cells/l respectively, whilst the CD4 cell count was 244 cells/mm3. A significant positive correlation was demonstrated between CD4 cell count and WCC (r = 0.25, p < 0.001). WCC and albumin were identified as potential surrogate markers for CD4 count ≤ 200 cells/mm3. Combination of WCC with either albumin or globulin predicts a CD4 count of less than 200 cells/ mm3 with moderate accuracy.

Conclusion: The use of combined biomarkers may influence initiation of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia prophylaxis in resource-limited settings. Further evaluation is warranted to assess the role of these markers in disease progression and ART.


albumin; calculated globulin; CD4 cell count; HIV infection; White cell count


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