Susan A Fiscus, PhD

Fiscus, Susan


709 Mary Ellen Jones, CB #7290





Dr. Fiscus is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine. She is also the Laboratory Principal Investigator for the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trails Network and Director of one of two Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology Repositories and Director of the UNC Center for AIDS Research Virology Core Laboratory. During the past 22 years under Dr. Fiscus' supervision, the UNC Retrovirology Laboratory has performed virologic testing for over 400 adult and pediatric studies, both nationally and internationally.

The focus of research in the laboratory has been trying to understand the factors associated with the transmission of HIV and from there, targeting ways to prevent transmission. Initially the laboratory determined optimal ways to quantitate HIV in blood, genital secretions, especially semen, and breast milk. We have demonstrated that genital tract viral load is particularly high during acute HIV infection and through a novel pooling and RNA testing strategy, initially piloted in this laboratory, have now established a state wide program to screen for acute HIV infection. We have
developed a similar program at our research site in Malawi. In a series of papers the laboratory has described the rapid uptake of ART during pregnancy
to prevent perinatal transmission, prevalence of drug resistance in infected infants, and reasons for lack of prophylaxis in the mothers that often leads tragically to transmission to the infant. The laboratory is evaluating point of care HIV assays for early infant diagnosis and virologic monitoring.


Stewart P, Cachafeiro A, Napravnik S, Eron JJ, Frank I, van der Horst C, Bosch RJ, Bettendorf D, Bohlin P, Fiscus SA (2010). Performance characteristics of the Cavidi ExaVir viral load assay and the ultra-sensitive P24 assay relative to the Roche Monitor HIV-1 RNA assay. J Clin Virol. 49(3):198-204.

Napravnik S, Cachafeiro A, Stewart P, Eron JJ Jr, Fiscus SA (2010). HIV-1 viral load and phenotypic antiretroviral drug resistance assays based on reverse transcriptase activity in comparison to amplification based HIV-1 RNA and genotypic assays.
J Clin Virol. 47(1):18-22.

Nelson JA, Loftis AM, Kamwendo D, Fawzi WW, Taha TE, Goldenberg RL, Fiscus SA (2009). Nevirapine resistance in human immunodeficiency virus type 1-positive infants determined using dried blood spots stored for up to six years at room temperature. J Clin Microbiol. 47(4):1209-11.

Cachafeiro A, Sherman GG, Sohn AH, Beck-Sague C, Fiscus SA (2009). Diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection in infants by use of dried blood spots and an ultrasensitive p24 antigen assay. J Clin Microbiol. 47(2):459-62.

Brown E, Chi BH, Read JS, Taha TE, Sharma U, Hoffman IF, Pikora C, Goldenberg R, Fiscus SA (2008). Determining an optimal testing strategy for infants at risk for mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 during the late postnatal period. AIDS. 22(17):2341-6.

Kshatriya R, Cachafeiro AA, Kerr RJ, Nelson JA, Fiscus SA (2008). Comparison of two rapid human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) assays, Determine HIV-1/2 and OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV-1/2, for detection of recent HIV seroconversion. J Clin Microbiol. 46(10):3482-3.

Fiscus SA, Wiener J, Abrams EJ, Bulterys M, Cachafeiro A, Respess RA (2007). Ultrasensitive p24 antigen assay for diagnosis of perinatal human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection.
J Clin Microbiol.45(7):2274-7.

Fiscus SA, Kovacs A, Petch LA, Hu C, Wiznia AA, Mofenson LM, Yogev R, McIntosh K, Pelton SI, Napravnik S, Stanley K, Nachman SA (2007). Baseline resistance to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors fails to predict virologic response to combination therapy in children (PACTG 338). AIDS Res Ther. 4:2.

Fiscus SA, Pilcher CD, Miller WC, Powers KA, Hoffman IF, Price M, Chilongozi DA, Mapanje C, Krysiak R, Gama S, Martinson FE, Cohen MS; Malawi-University of North Carolina Project Acute HIV Infection Study Team (2007). Rapid, real-time detection of acute HIV infection in patients in Africa. J Infect Dis. 195(3):416-24.

Fiscus SA, Cheng B, Crowe SM, Demeter L, Jennings C, Miller V, Respess R, Stevens W; Forum for Collaborative HIV Research Alternative Viral Load Assay Working Group (2006). HIV-1 viral load assays for resource-limited settings. PLoS Med. 3(10):e417. Review.

Fiscus SA, Chen S, Hoover D, Kerkau MG, Alabanza P, Siharath S, Schmitz J, Kumwenda N, Taha TE (2005). Affordable, abbreviated roche monitor assay for quantification of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 RNA in plasma. J Clin Microbiol. 43(8):4200-2.

Complete list of publications


Center for Aids Research (CFAR)
Department of Microbiology and Immunology