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International Journal of Infectious Diseases: Volume 4, Number 1
Evaluation of a Supplemental Assay for the Diagnosis of Hepatitis C Virus Infections
Bertrand Rihn, MD, DSc; François Hussenet, MD; Marie-Blanche Detry, MD, DSc; Annette Catelle, DScPharm; and Alain Le Faou, MD, DSc

Int J Infect Dis 1999; 4:42-45

Objectives: A supplemental test was evaluated for hepatitis C virus (HCV). Methods: One hundred forty-six sera that were inconclusive or discrepant in two screening tests for HCV infection were evaluated using a supplemental test, MATRIX-HCV2[TM] (Abbott Laboratories, Chicago, IL, USA). Results of the supplemental test were compared to the detection of HCV RNA by a nested polymerase chain reaction after a step of reverse transcription (RT-PCR). Results: Thirty-nine RNA-containing sera (positive with RT-PCR) of 40 (97%) reacted with at least one antigen in the supplemental test. Reactivity with one to three antigens also was observed with 77 PCR-negative sera (66%). Twenty-nine sera were found negative with both techniques. Conclusions: Despite clear results and good sensitivity, the MATRIX-HCV2[TM] assay was poorly predictive of viremia in patients with indeterminate results in initial screening assays.

KEYWORDS: diagnosis, hepatitis C, immunoassay, RT-PCR

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