Key information

First time users
If you are using the service for the first time please contact the Unit manager, Dr Steve Kaye, to discuss your requirements and answer any questions you may have.
+44 (0)20 7594 3917

Delivery address
FAO Dr Steve Kaye
Molecular Diagnostic Unit,
Imperial College London
4th Floor, Medical School Building
St. Mary’s Hospital
Norfolk Place
London W2 1PG

HLA-B 5701 request form [download]


It has been reported that HIV-1 infected patients who carry the HLA-B*5701 allele can show adverse reactions to the antiretroviral drug abacavir (ABC) which is commonly used in antiretroviral combination therapy (cART)1. Approximately 1% to 7% of the HIV-1 infected population in the UK carry the B*5701 allele depending on the ethnic group of the patient. Consequently, it is routine to screen infected patients for HLA-B*5701 on first presentation, as recommended in the BHIVA guidelines2. The Molecular Diagnostics Unit (MDU) offers B*5701 screening by PCR amplification and sequencing of the B*5701 gene locus.

Test details

DNA is extracted from a blood sample, PCR-amplified and samples which give amplification are sequenced to determine which of the B*57 alleles are present in the patient. The method is a fully validated in-house method. A summary of the validation is available from the Unit Manager.

Reporting results

The results will be reported as “B*57 negative – abacavir suitable for treatment”, “B*5701 positive – abacavir unsuitable for treatment” or “other B*57 allele present – abacavir suitable fro treatment. Reports are routinely sent out as hard copy but can be supplied as email attachments, if required.

Turnaround time

We aim to issue reports within two weeks of receiving a sample. However, as we offer a bespoke service and make rigorous efforts to produce a result from any sample, turnaround times may be extended if repeat testing is required.


If you are unhappy with the service provided by MDU or if you wish to make suggestions on how our service can be improved, please contact the Unit Manager, Steve Kaye (

User instructions

For routine testing, the required sample is one 4.5ml EDTA Vacutainer of whole blood. Each sample must be accompanied by a request form. This can either be the form provided by MDU in the download button above, or your own form. If it is the latter it must contain the following details:

  • patient clinic number (not the patient’s name)
  • date of birth
  • sample date
  • contact details for reporting the result

Samples should be couriered or mailed to MDU on the day of collection if possible. If it is not possible to ship the sample the same day it can be kept in the refrigerator (not freezer) and shipped the next day or can be shipped the following Monday if taken on Friday. The shipper is responsible for packaging the sample according to current guidelines for shipment of pathology specimens.