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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-42

Significance of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) core antigen as an alternative plasma marker of active HCV infection

Department of Clinical Virology, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
P Abraham
Department of Clinical Virology, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.31060

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Purpose: To evaluate the role of core antigen (Ortho trak-C assay) as a marker of active HCV infection in comparison to HCV RNA as detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Methods: This evaluation was carried out during January 2000 to December 2003 in HCV infected individuals who were treatment naοve or were on anti-viral therapy. Additionally, sequential plasma samples from patients on clinical follow-up were included in this study. A total of 167 samples from 61 patients were tested by trak-C and RT-PCR. HCV RNA detection was achieved by a RT-PCR. Trak-C assay results were also compared in a limited proportion of these samples with known HCV viral load and genotype. Results: Of 167 samples tested, 56.9% were RNA positive and 43.1% were RNA negative while 50.3% were trak-C positive and 49.7% were trak-C negative, yielding a sensitivity of 85.3% and a specificity of 95.8% for the trak-C assay (Kappa co-efficient = 0.8). The concentration of HCVcAg and HCV RNA showed significant correlation (n=38, r=0.334, P =0.04). The trak-C assay detected the most prevalent HCV genotypes in India without significant difference ( P =0.335). The difference between mean absorbance values of HCV RNA positive samples compared to HCV RNA negative samples in the trak-C assay was highly significant ( P <0.000). Qualitative results of trak-C assay and RT-PCR were comparable in 93% of follow-up samples. Conclusions: Trak-C assay can be recommended for confirmation of HCV infection and follow-up in laboratories with resource-poor facilities.


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2004 - Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow

Online since April 2001, new site since 1st August '04