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J Clin Virol. 2004 Feb;29(2):84-91.

Evaluation of a new NASBA assay for the qualitative detection of hepatitis C virus based on the NucliSens Basic Kit reagents.

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Clinical Virology Laboratory, CEMIC University Hospital, Galván 4102, C1431FWO Buenos Aires, Argentina.



Direct detection of HCV RNA by nucleic acid amplification methods is an essential tool in the diagnosis of HCV infections. In-house developed methods based on reverse transcribed polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) are widely used but they are laborious and usually lack the standardization required by clinical laboratories.


To evaluate the sensitivity and the clinical performance of an HCV specific nucleic acid sequence based amplification (NASBA) assay based on the commercially available, NucliSens Basic Kit (bioMérieux) reagents.


The analytical sensitivity of the Basic Kit-based HCV assay (BK-HCV) was determined using dilutions of the First World Health Organization International Standard for HCV RNA. The performance of the BK-HCV was evaluated at two study sites in comparison with in-house RT-nested PCR (RT-nPCR) by testing a total of 77 plasma specimens. Additional HCV laboratory tests such as Amplicor HCV v2.0 (Roche Diagnostics) and genotype were also included in the comparative analysis.


The sensitivity of the BK-HCV was 100-150 IU/ml HCV RNA (85-100% hit rate). When evaluating the clinical performance, we found 96-100% correlation between BK-HCV and RT-nPCR, and 85-91% correlation between BK-HCV and Amplicor. The level of efficiency of the BK-HCV for detecting prevalent HCV genotypes was equal to in house RT-nPCR and Amplicor.


The BK-HCV offers adequate sensitivity for diagnostic purposes and equivalent clinical performance to in-house RT-nPCR assays. The BK-HCV could become a suitable alternative to the in-house amplification methods, providing standardized reagents and procedures, plus rapid results to clinical laboratories.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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