Validation of rapid point-of-care (POC) tests for detection of hepatitis B surface antigen in field and laboratory settings in the Gambia, Western Africa

J Clin Microbiol. 2015 Apr;53(4):1156-63. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02980-14. Epub 2015 Jan 28.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Point-of-care tests for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) could be an ideal tool for a large-scale HBV screening/treatment program in SSA. Using data from the PROLIFICA (Prevention of Liver Fibrosis and Cancer in Africa) program, we conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the diagnostic accuracy of three point-of-care tests (Determine, Vikia, and Espline) for the detection of HBsAg in the field or a laboratory setting in the Gambia. In the field, we used finger-prick whole blood for the Determine and Vikia tests and dried blood spots for the reference standard test (AxSYM HBsAg enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]). In the laboratory we used serum for the Determine, Espline, and reference test (Architect chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay). Of 773 participants recruited at the community and 227 known chronic HBV carriers (1,000 subjects in total), 293 were positive for HBsAg. The sensitivity and specificity of the Determine test were 88.5% and 100% in the field and 95.3% and 93.3% in the laboratory setting, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity were 90.0% and 99.8% for the Vikia test (in the field) and 93.9% and 94.7% for the Espline test (in the laboratory). There was no evidence that one kit was better than another. Most of the patients with false-negative results (18/19) were classified as inactive chronic carriers. In summary, the three point-of-care tests had acceptable ranges of diagnostic accuracy. These tests may represent accurate, rapid, and inexpensive alternatives to serology testing for the screening of HBV infection at field level in SSA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • Gambia
  • Hepatitis B / diagnosis*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens