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Transfusion. 2002 Jul;42(7):869-75.

NAT for HBV and anti-HBc testing increase blood safety.

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1
Institute of Transfusion Medicine and Immunohematology German Red Cross, Hesse, Frankfurt.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Routine HBV PCR screening of blood donations to our institutes was introduced in January 1997 to complete the NAT screening program for transfusion-relevant viruses. Testing was successively extended to customer transfusion services with a total of 1,300,000 samples tested per year.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:

Minipools of 96 blood donation samples were formed by automatic pipettors. HBsAg-reactive samples were included. HBV particles were enriched from the minipools by centrifugation. Conventional and in-house TaqMan PCRs were successively applied for HBV amplification. Sensitivity reached 1000 genome equivalents per mL for each individual donation. Confirmatory single-sample and single-sample enrichment PCRs were established with sensitivities of 300 and 5 to 10 genome equivalents per mL, respectively.

RESULTS:

After screening of 3.6 million donor samples, 6 HBV PCR-positive, HBsAg-negative donations were identified. Two samples were from infected donors who had not seroconverted and four were from chronic anti-HBc-positive low-level HBV carriers. Retesting by single-sample PCR of 432 samples confirmed positive for HBsAg identified 37 donations that were negative in minipool PCR. Donor-directed look-back procedures indicated that no infected donor who had not yet seroconverted was missed by minipool PCR. However, recipient-directed look-back procedures revealed two anti-HBc-positive recipients of HBsAg-negative minipool PCR-negative, anti-HBc-positive and single-sample PCR-positive blood components. After testing randomly selected 729 HBsAg-negative minipool PCR-negative, anti-HBc-positive donors by single-sample enrichment PCR, 7 were identified with < or = 10 HBV particles per mL of donor plasma.

CONCLUSION:

Minipool PCR testing after virus enrichment was sensitive enough to identify HBsAg-negative donors who had seroconverterd and HBsAg-negative, anti-HBc-positive chronic HBV carriers. HBV NAT in conjunction with anti-HBc screening would reduce the residual risk of transfusion-transmitted HBV infection.

PMID:
12375659
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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