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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 138-142

Diagnosing different stages of hepatitis B infection using a competitive polymerase chain reaction assay

1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana 71130, USA
2 Section of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, 840 S. Wood Street, Room 718E (M/C 716) Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA
3 Department of Gastroentrology, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India
4 Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar - 143 005, India

Correspondence Address:
P K Sehajpal
Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar - 143 005
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.40527

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Purpose: Different stages of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection can be defined by serum HBV DNA levels. This study attempts to (1) investigate serum HBV DNA levels in inactive carriers and patients with chronic HBV (CHB) infection and (2) define cut-off value between inactive carriers and HBeAg (precore antigen of HBV) negative CHB patients in Indian population. Methods: One hundred and forty samples encompassing 42 inactive HBsAg carriers and 98 CHB patients (53 HBeAg-positive and 45 HBeAg-negative) were analysed. Serum HBV DNA levels were determined employing an in-house competitive polymerase chain reaction (cPCR) assay. Results: The HBeAg-positive patients were found to have the maximum median HBV DNA load, which was significantly higher than the HBeAg-negative ones (median; 1.25 10 8 vs. 2.30 10 5 copies/mL ; P < 0.05). Interestingly, the latter group has significantly higher HBV DNA levels than the inactive carriers (median; 2.30 10 5 vs. 4.28 10 3 copies/mL ; P < 0.05). The 2.5 10 4 copies/ml HBV DNA levels were optimal for discriminating CHB patients (HBeAg-negative) from inactive carriers with 75.6 and 78.6% sensitivity and specificity, respectively. Conclusions: Despite the extensive overlapping of HBV DNA levels in inactive carriers and HBeAg negative CHB patients, 2.5 10 4 copies/mL is the most favourable cut-off value to classify these individuals and would be imperative in the better management of this dreadful disease.


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

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