Multiplex NAT

A type of nucleic acid testing (NAT) that detects the genetic material of more than one organism at one time. Blood donor testing laboratories use multiplex NAT (or “MNAT”) to detect HIV-1 RNA, hepatitis C virus RNA, and hepatitis B virus DNA. Donors are screened for multiple organisms using one highly sensitive test, improving efficiencies and lowering costs. Virtually all U.S. blood centers use multiplex NAT to test donor blood samples for these three organisms (generally, in minipools of multiple donors tested at once), and if the test is nonreactive, all donors in the minipool are considered nonreactive for all of the viruses. If the MNAT is reactive, however, samples from the donors in the reactive minipool will undergo deconstruction and ultimately, “discriminatory NAT” to determine which of the organisms is causing the reactive test in which of the donors.

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