The development of reagents with high affinity and specificity to the antigens of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is important for the early stage diagnosis of its infection. Aptamers are short, single-stranded oligonucleotides with the ability to specifically recognize target molecules with high affinity. Herein, we report the selection of RNA aptamers that bind to the core antigen of HCV. High affinity aptamers were isolated from a 10(15) random library of 60 mer RNAs using the SELEX procedure. Importantly, the selected aptamers specifically bound to the core antigen, but not to another HCV antigen, NS5, in a protein chip-based assay. Using these aptamers, we developed an aptamer-based biosensor for HCV diagnosis and detected the core antigen from HCV infected patients' sera with good specificity. This novel aptamer-based antigen detection sensor could be applied to the early diagnosis of HCV infection.