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Vox Sang. 2000;78(2):80-5.

Detection of hepatitis C core antigen in the antibody negative 'window' phase of hepatitis C infection.

Author information

1
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Raritan, NJ 08869, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Despite improvements in assays for anti-HCV, there remains a significant delay before the appearance of antibodies following infection, during which, circulating viral RNA is present. We have evaluated a prototype assay for the serological detection of hepatitis C virus (HCV) core antigen with specimens derived from the early phase of HCV infection.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Serial specimens from 24 individuals undergoing HCV seroconversion were tested for the presence of anti-HCV, HCV RNA and HCV core antigen.

RESULTS:

HCV antigen was detected at the same time as HCV RNA in 83% (20/24) cases. The mean time to the first detection of HCV antigen was approximately 1 day later than HCV RNA. Overall, 87% of HCV-RNA-positive specimens contained detectable HCV core antigen.

CONCLUSION:

These results indicate that HCV core antigen can be identified by routine serological ELISA in specimens from the early antibody-negative phase of HCV infection. A test for HCV core antigen may be a useful test for identifying window phase blood donations from antibody negative donors infected with HCV.

PMID:
10765142
DOI:
10.1159/000031155
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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