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, 12 (1), 106-10

Usefulness of a New Immuno-Radiometric Assay to Detect Hepatitis C Core Antigen in a Community-Based Population

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Usefulness of a New Immuno-Radiometric Assay to Detect Hepatitis C Core Antigen in a Community-Based Population

K Hayashi et al. J Viral Hepat.

Abstract

A new immuno-radiometric assay (IRMA) to detect hepatitis C virus (HCV) core antigen (HCVcAg) has been developed. The aim of the present study was to investigate the sensitivity and specificity of this IRMA to measure HCV antigenemia, based on the detection of HCV RNA as the gold standard, and to assess the utility of the IRMA in a community-based population. Anti-HCV positive residents in a hyperendemic area of HCV infection in Japan were studied. Serum levels of HCVcAg were measured using IRMA, and the presence of HCV RNA was determined by a qualitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay. The sensitivity and the specificity of the IRMA were 96.4 and 100%, respectively. The sensitivity of the IRMA was similar between serological HCV group I (HCV genotypes 1a and 1b) (97.6%) and group II (HCV genotypes 2a and 2b) (94.0%). There was a strong correlation between serum HCVcAg level and HCV-RNA measured by a quantitative RT-PCR (r = 0.832, P < 0.0001). There also was a very strong correlation of HCVcAg level between IRMA measurements performed on serum and those performed on plasma (r = 0.984, P < 0.0001). In conclusion, this new IRMA is useful for the detection of HCV core antigen in a community-based population.

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