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Of 10,633 blood donations tested in three regional blood transfusion centres with two commercial first generation screening assays for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), 65 (0.61%) were found to be repeatedly reactive in one or both assays. Five of the 65 were confirmed positive by recombinant immunoblot assay (Ortho RIBA-2) and a further 4 were judged indeterminate. All 5 RIBA-2 positive donations and 1 of the 4 RIBA-2 indeterminates were shown to be viraemic by HCV-RNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays performed at three independent reference laboratories. The remaining 56 screen test reactive donations proved negative by RIBA-2 and, with 1 exception, negative by PCR. We conclude that while first generation anti-HCV screening assays generate a high proportion of false reactions when screening low prevalence populations, results of the RIBA-2 confirmatory test correlate well with PCR findings and thus indirectly with both hepatitis C viraemia and infectivity.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/j.1423-0410.1992.tb01202.x

Type

Journal article

Journal

Vox Sang

Publication Date

1992

Volume

62

Pages

218 - 223

Keywords

Base Sequence, Blood Donors, False Positive Reactions, Hepacivirus, Hepatitis Antibodies, Hepatitis C, Humans, Immunoblotting, Mass Screening, Molecular Sequence Data, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Prevalence, RNA, Viral, Sensitivity and Specificity, United Kingdom, Viremia