Efficacy of HCV core antigen detection during the preseroconversion period

Authors

  • Anne-Marie Couroucé,

    1. From the Department of Virology, National Institute of Blood Transfusion; and the Department of Hemodialysis, Pasteur Valley Radot, Paris, France; and the Blood Transfusion Establishment of the Nord de France, Lille, France.
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  • Nadine Le Marrec,

    1. From the Department of Virology, National Institute of Blood Transfusion; and the Department of Hemodialysis, Pasteur Valley Radot, Paris, France; and the Blood Transfusion Establishment of the Nord de France, Lille, France.
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  • Françoise Bouchardeau,

    1. From the Department of Virology, National Institute of Blood Transfusion; and the Department of Hemodialysis, Pasteur Valley Radot, Paris, France; and the Blood Transfusion Establishment of the Nord de France, Lille, France.
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  • Annie Razer,

    1. From the Department of Virology, National Institute of Blood Transfusion; and the Department of Hemodialysis, Pasteur Valley Radot, Paris, France; and the Blood Transfusion Establishment of the Nord de France, Lille, France.
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  • Michéle Maniez,

    1. From the Department of Virology, National Institute of Blood Transfusion; and the Department of Hemodialysis, Pasteur Valley Radot, Paris, France; and the Blood Transfusion Establishment of the Nord de France, Lille, France.
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  • Syria Laperche,

    1. From the Department of Virology, National Institute of Blood Transfusion; and the Department of Hemodialysis, Pasteur Valley Radot, Paris, France; and the Blood Transfusion Establishment of the Nord de France, Lille, France.
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  • Nicole Simon

    1. From the Department of Virology, National Institute of Blood Transfusion; and the Department of Hemodialysis, Pasteur Valley Radot, Paris, France; and the Blood Transfusion Establishment of the Nord de France, Lille, France.
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Address reprint requests to: A.M. Couroucé, PhD, Institut National de la Transfusion Sanguine, 6 rue Alexandre Cabanel, 75739 Paris Cedex 15, France; e-mail:courouce@ints.fr.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to compare the performances of HCV core antigen (HCV Ag) testing with HCV RNA detection during the preseroconversion period.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Six HCV antibody (HCV Ab)-negative and HCV RNA-positive blood samples from 6 donors and 135 serial samples from 28 patients who had undergone hemodialysis, collected a mean of 90 days before the detection of HCV Ab, were tested by ELISA for the detection of HCV Ag and by PCR to quantify HCV RNA.

RESULTS: Five of the six donors were positive for HCV Ag. The donor with a negative HCV Ag test had the lowest viral load. In the hemodialysis patients, the 43 first specimens of the series were HCV RNA negative. Of the 92 specimens that were HCV RNA positive, 81 (88%) were positive for HCV Ag. Among the 74 samples with more than 105 RNA copies, 71 (96%) were HCV Ag positive. Average time from first viremic bleed to first HCV Ag-positive bleed was estimated at 2.0 days and that to first HCV Ab-positive bleed at 50.8 days.

CONCLUSION: HCV Ag testing permits the detection of an HCV infection about 1.5 months earlier than the HCV Ab screening tests and an average of only 2 days later than quantitative HCV RNA detection in individual specimens.

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