A novel immunoassay that detects simultaneously hepatitis B virus (HBV) PreS1 and/or core-related antigens was developed and evaluated for its potential for detecting hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) variants. The detection limits of the assay was 10(2.9+/-0.5)copies/mL (mean+/-SD) for HBsAg-positive sera with different genotypes, and 10(3.5+/-1.2)copies/mL for HBsAg variants sera. The specificity of the assay was 99.9% (95% CI: 99.7-99.9%, 4551 healthy individuals). The sensitivities were 93.9% (95% CI: 92.8-94.9%), 59.3% (95% CI: 38.7-77.6%) and 80% (95% CI: 44.4-97.5%) in three independent groups which include: 2065 hepatitis patients, 27 patients with occult hepatitis B and 10 HBsAg variants, respectively. In addition, a novel premature stop code mutation at position 112 of HBsAg was observed in two patients with chronic hepatitis B with different genotypes.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.