Study on reliability of commercially available hepatitis C virus antibody tests.J Clin Microbiol. 1995 Mar; 33(3):620-4.JC
The serodiagnosis of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was analyzed by a recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA) with recombinant proteins encoded by the viral RNA isolated from our patients in Hamburg, Germany. The HCV RNA was amplified by PCR, and proteins encoded by the viral core and the NS3, NS4, and NS5 regions were expressed subsequently in Escherichia coli. The results obtained with our UKE RIBA were compared with the results of the Abbott HCV second-generation enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Serum samples from 270 patients, which were sent to us on the suspicion of HCV hepatitis and which were negative for hepatitis A virus and hepatitis B virus antibodies, were examined. In 227 cases (84.1%), there were identical positive (204 cases, 75.6%) or negative (23 cases, 8.5%) results in both tests. In 32 cases (11.9%), the reactive Abbott second-generation HCV EIA results could not be confirmed by the UKE RIBA and the HCV PCR. In follow-up studies conducted over 1 year, these results did not change. In three cases (1.1%), the UKE RIBA presented a positive result while the Abbott second-generation HCV EIA was negative. All three cases were positive in the HCV PCR and showed seroconversion in an HCV EIA 4 to 6 weeks later. In addition, 33 patient serum samples were examined by UKE RIBA in parallel with the Ortho RIBA 2.0. In three cases (9.1%), a positive Ortho RIBA 2.0 result could not be confirmed by the UKE RIBA and the HCV PCR. All three patients were free of complaints. The UKE RIBA showed also a smaller number of indeterminate results (3.0%) than the Ortho RIBA 2.0 (24.2%). This comparison study demonstrates that the commercially available HCV antibody tests should be further improved.