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Vox Sang. 1994;66(2):122-9.

Evaluation of third-generation screening and confirmatory assays for HCV antibodies.

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Belgian Red Cross Blood Transfusion Center, Leuven.


A third-generation (gen.) screening and immunoblot assay (Ortho EIA-3.0; Chiron RIBA-3 prototype), using antigens derived from the capsid and different nonstructural regions (NS3, NS4 and NS5) of the hepatitis C virus viral genome, were evaluated in comparison with the corresponding second-gen. assays (Ortho EIA-2.0; revised Ortho EIA-2.5; Chiron RIBA-2). In 203 depository sera of blood donors, positive in EIA-2.0, specificity of the screening assays was improved as shown by an increase in positive predictive value for viral carrier state from 0.23 (EIA-2.0) to 0.37 (EIA-2.5) and 0.52 (EIA-3.0). Comparing the confirmation patterns on RIBA-2 and RIBA-3, this amelioration was mainly due to the specific elimination of false-positive c22-3 and c100-3 reactions. Antibody response to the newly added NS5 antigen was not as prevalent as to the other antigens and had only a minor influence in sample allocation. In contrast, screening of 1,560 volunteer blood donors and 47 hemodialysis patients revealed 3 additional positive sera, only reacting with the NS5 antigen. However none of these isolated NS5 reactions could be confirmed on synthetic peptides [INNO-LIA: NS5(p)] and none was PCR positive. A documented seroconversion, detected earlier with EIA-3.0, was related to a better immunological response to the NS3 antigen and not to the additional NS5. From this pilot study third-gen. assays appeared extremely useful in the reevaluation of HCV-seropositive depository sera. However the additional value of the NS5 antigen in blood donor screening is still hypothetical and remains to be established in larger screening studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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