Use of several second generation serological assays to determine the true prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in haemophiliacs treated with non-virus inactivated factor VIII and IX concentrates.
Watson HG., Ludlam CA., Rebus S., Zhang LQ., Peutherer JF., Simmonds P.
To investigate the prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in two risk groups, stored serum samples from treated haemophiliacs and intravenous drug users were tested for anti-HCV by both anti-C-100 based and second generation ELISAs (Abbott and Ortho) followed by testing in two confirmatory immunoblot assays that incorporate core as well as other non-structural antigens (Innogenetics LIA and Chiron RIBA-HCV test). Clear evidence of HCV infection was found in all but one of 78 haemophiliacs treated with non-virus inactivated clotting factor concentrates, but in none exposed only to super dry heat-treated concentrates. Only four samples gave rise to conflicting serological results between the four tests, two of these occurred in patients with advanced HIV related disease and almost certainly reflected loss of humoral immunity associated with disease progression, and the others occurred in the only two patients tested who were chronic carriers of hepatitis B infection and may reflect an interaction between the two viruses. Comparison of anti-C-100 versus second generation tests in immunocompetent drug users revealed a false negative rate of 20% using C-100 alone, indicating the advantage of using second generation assays for detection of past or current HCV infection. Of all of the antigens used in the confirmatory assay, positive sera showed strongest and most frequent reactivity with the C22 and C33c proteins (Ortho RIBA).