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J Clin Microbiol. 2000 Aug;38(8):2933-9.

Clinical evaluation of the automated COBAS AMPLICOR HCV MONITOR test version 2.0 for quantifying serum hepatitis C virus RNA and comparison to the quantiplex HCV version 2.0 test.

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  • 1Hepatobiliary Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


A second-generation hepatitis C virus (HCV) quantitative assay (COBAS AMPLICOR HCV MONITOR Test, version 2.0; COBAS HCM-2) has been developed, with the intention of achieving equivalent quantification of all HCV genotypes and improving assay performance. To evaluate the clinical performance of COBAS HCM-2 and its utility in predicting the response to alpha interferon treatment, sera from 215 chronic hepatitis C patients were analyzed and the results were compared with those obtained by the Quantiplex bDNA HCV RNA, version 2.0, assay (bDNA-2). The COBAS HCM-2 had significantly greater sensitivity than bDNA-2 (94.9 versus 88.4%; P < 0.001) when performed with sera from chronic hepatitis C patients who were viremic by a qualitative PCR test. The standard deviations for the within-run and between-run reproducibilities of COBAS HCM-2 were <0. 1 and <0.2, respectively, and it showed an improved linear range between genotypes with the threefold serial dilutions tested (r(2) = 0.986 to 0.995). The COBAS HCM-2 results were positively correlated with the bDNA-2 results, but the values for COBAS HCM-2 were on average 0.96 log lower than the values for bDNA-2. The mean difference in quantification values between these two assays did not differ among samples with different genotypes (0.70 to 1.00 log). No genotype-dependent difference in viral load was observed. The pretreatment viral load was significantly lower in complete responders. By using multivariate analysis, the viral load 2 weeks after the initiation of alpha interferon treatment was the strongest predictor of a complete response. In conclusion, COBAS HCM-2 demonstrated good sensitivity, linearity, and reproducibility and efficiency equal to that of bDNA-2 for the quantification of HCV genotypes 1 and 2. Hence, this assay provides a rapid and reliable method for the quantification of HCV RNA in serum and is useful for the planning of interferon treatment.

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