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J Infect Dis. 2001 Mar 15;183(6):973-6. Epub 2001 Feb 21.

Multicenter evaluation of hepatitis C RNA levels among female injection drug users.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


The purpose of this investigation was to identify factors that determine the blood level of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA. By use of a quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay, the level of HCV RNA was ascertained in stored serum samples from 676 women enrolled in a multicenter prospective investigation who were seropositive for anti-HCV antibodies. HCV RNA levels ranged from undetectable to 22.4x106 copies/mL in these women. Among the 520 women with detectable HCV RNA, levels were higher among those who were >41 years old and those who had human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. After adjusting for age in a multivariate linear regression model, HCV RNA levels were more strongly associated with HIV RNA levels than with CD4(+) lymphocyte counts. However, <6% of person-to-person variance was explained by the factors evaluated. Additional research is needed to ascertain what determines the level of HCV RNA in blood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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