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J Clin Microbiol. 1996 Apr;34(4):901-7.

Accurate quantification of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA from all HCV genotypes by using branched-DNA technology.

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Chiron Corporation, Emeryville, California 94608-2916, USA.


In studies monitoring disease progression and therapeutic response, it is essential that the method used for hepatitis C virus (HCV) quantification not be influenced by genotypic variability. The branched DNA assay provides a reliable method for the quantification of HCV RNA. A modified set of oligonucleotide probes for the branched DNA assay was developed to enhance the efficiency of binding to genotypic variants of HCV. The improved branched DNA assay (HCV RNA 2.0) yielded highly reproducible quantification of hepatitis C virus RNA and displayed a nearly 600-fold dynamic range in quantification up to 120 Meq of HCV RNA per ml. The quantification limit was set at 0.2 Meg of HCV RNA per ml to ensure a specificity of > or = 95%. With this lowered quantification limit and the enhanced hybridization of the probes, the HCV RNA 2.0 assay exhibited a high level of sensitivity (96%) and was virtually unaffected by the genotypic variability of HCV. The HCV RNA 2.0 assay may be a useful tool for following HCV RNA levels throughout the course of disease, selecting patients for therapy, and evaluating therapeutic response.

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