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J Virol Methods. 2000 Mar;85(1-2):11-21.

Routine detection and quantification of hepatitis B virus DNA in clinical laboratories: performance of three commercial assays.

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Department of Bacteriology and Virology, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Université Paris XII, Créteil, France.


The detection and quantification of hepatitis B virus (HBV) genomes in molecular biology-based assays appear to be the most reliable methods for monitoring HBV infection and assessing responses to antiviral treatment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of three HBV-DNA detection and quantification assays currently used for the management of HBV-infected patients: a solution-hybridization assay based on hybrid-capture (Digene Hybrid-Capture, Murex Diagnostics, Dartford, UK); a signal-amplification assay based on 'branched-DNA' (bDNA) technology (Quantiplex HBV DNA, Bayer Diagnostics, Emeryville, CA); and a target-amplification assay based on competitive polymerase chain reaction (Amplicor HBV Monitor, Roche Molecular Systems, Pleasanton, CA). The Monitor assay was significantly more sensitive than both the hybrid-capture and bDNA methods. This better sensitivity appeared to be clinically relevant. The linear ranges of quantification in the hybrid-capture, bDNA and Monitor methods were 6.5-9 log10 genome copies/ml, 6.5-9.5 log10 genome equivalents/ml, and 3-5.5 log10 genome copies/ml, respectively. However, the HBV-DNA units used in the three assays were not comparable. The specificity of the hybrid-capture, bDNA and Monitor assays was 99.2% (95% confidence interval: 97.7-100.0%), 99.2% (97.7-100.0%), and 97.8% (95.3-100%), respectively. Their within-run coefficients of variation and log10 SDs were 5.5% (+/- 0.025 log10 copies/ml), 6.7% (+/- 0.029 log10 Eq/ml) and 21.0% (+/- 0.093 log10 copies/ml), respectively. Between-run coefficients of variation ranged from 4.4-39.1%, 5-39.5%, and 17.8-96.1%, respectively. The competitive PCR-based Monitor assay appears to be significantly more sensitive but slightly less specific and reproducible than the hybrid-capture and bDNA methods. Given their respective performance, these three assays should be used in complementary fashion in the management of HBV-infected patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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