Objective: Conventional tests for antibody to hepatitis C virus (HCV) require considerable time before results are available. The aim of this study is to examine the accuracy of a new quick test (SM-HCV Rapid Test) for the detection of antibody to hepatitis C virus with reference to the well-established third generation enzyme immunoblot assay (EIA-3; Abbott Laboratories, Chicago, IL).
Methods: A total of 290 subjects (100 patients with chronic hepatitis C infections, 95 patients with other chronic liver diseases, 95 healthy subjects) were recruited. Thirty microliters of serum was tested for anti-HCV by SM-HCV Rapid Test according to the manufacturer's instruction. Liver function tests and serum HCV RNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were measured.
Results: In the 100 patients positive for anti-HCV by EIA-3, 98 of these patients were also positive for anti-HCV by SM-HCV Rapid Test. In the 95 patients with other chronic liver diseases, 94 samples were negative for anti-HCV by both EIA-3 and SM-HCV Rapid Test. The remaining one patient was positive for anti-HCV by the EIA-3 but negative by the SM-HCV Rapid Test. In the 95 controls, which were negative for anti-HCV by EIA-3, all were also negative for anti-HCV by SM-HCV Rapid Test and HCV RNA by PCR. Using EIA-3 as the gold standard screening test for anti-HCV, the sensitivity and the specificity of SM-HCV Rapid Test were 98% and 100%, respectively. The positive predictive value and negative predictive value of SM-HCV Rapid Test were 100% and 97.9%, respectively.
Conclusions: SM-HCV Rapid Test is a reliable test with high sensitivity and specificity. The anti-HCV result can be available within a very short period of time. It is a useful screening test for anti-HCV.