Diagnostic laboratory of hepatitis C by using ultrasensitive tests for early detection of infection of hepatitis C virus by PCR anda rapid tests to detect antibodies anti-hepatitis C.
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Highly sensitive hepatitis C tests using PCR
– HCV test by quantitative PCR (viral load)
This test reduces the window period until few days after virus exposure, directly detecting the virus with a high sensitivity. Hepatitis C virus RNA is detectable in the serum or plasma from the first or second week after exposure and it is the standard marker and it is the more reliable techique for diagnosing active HCV infection and therefore the infectivity capacity of the virus. In addition, it detects acute infection when anti-HCV antibodies are not yet detectable.This technique allows to have the results in a really short time.
In a maximum of 24 hours, although it is possible to have the results in only 2 hours.
This test is essential to detect the transmission of the virus in newborn babies of mothers with hepatitis C. In addition, it is used to confirm infection in patients with impaired humoral immunity (responsible for producing antibodies) that do not present detectable HCV plasma and cytostatic therapy patients, immunocompromised transplant or dialysis. Hepatitis C virus RNA detection techniques allow monitoring the response to antiviral therapy.
The detection limit of this test can detect from 4 IU of nucleic acid per milliliter of serum and thus detect very recent infection.The analytical sensitivity of these tests is low viral loads above 99%, reaching values close to 100% when the viral load increases. Consultation with our experts which is the test that best fits your needs based on the window of each test period.
– HCV test by qualitative PCR
This test also allows the detection of HCV but with a sensitivity lower than that of viral load. Therefore, for the detection of hepatitis C virus by qualitative PCR the window period is somewhat higher. In addition, the results of this test take a little longer and are usually available in 72 hours.
Rapid test for hepatitis C in 20 min
This rapid test measures the antibodies generated by the organism against Hepatitis C virus. Normally our body creates them 3 months after virus exposure. Before 3 months you may not have created antibodies and therefore the test loses reliability, being an indirect diagnosis. It should be remembered that the sensitivity of these tests is considerably lower than the PCR.
This HCV tests are available together with other STIs tests.
Knows other test packs.
What is the C hepatitis?
It is an infection produced by virus of C Hepatitis that takes big affinity by liver. Above mentioned virus is in the blood of the people who have this illness. This chronic infection affects more than 70 million people in the world, and some estimations indicate that in Spain 800.000 infected patients can exist, although many of them do not know it.
Why is the C hepatitis so dangerous?
Perhaps biggest danger of this virus, is fact that it can produce an acute infection, which often is asymptomatic. In fact, many cases of C hepatitis are diagnosed in patients without symptoms who do not remember to have spent an acute hepatitis. More than 90 % of the patients has no symptoms when they contract the illness and illness is detected on a routine control, on having donated blood or when it begins to give symptoms because it has produced a chronic hepatitis or a cirrhosis.
Between 50-70 % of the infected patients develops a chronic hepatitis and in 20 % of patients it will progress to cirrhosis in 10 years later to the contagion. These patients have illness and also they can infect it to others.
What is the “acute” C hepatitis?
Only 5 % of people in the acute phase has a typical picture of weariness, it is absent of appetite, yellowish coloration of skin, dark urines, dregs of whitish color, itch generalized. Others spend the illness as if it was a flu or, even, without finding out as it has been commented previously.
What is the “chronic” C hepatitis?
Once the illness is chronic, the symptoms that it can give are those of a chronic hepatitis (often indistinguishable of others caused by other viruses or by other motives). In general, patients are tired and can lose appetite. When illness is advanced distension can appear in legs and abdomen, alterations of coagulation of blood with frequent appearance of haematomas or haemorrhage for the gums or for the nose. Some males present growth of breasts (ginecomastia), also can increase their parotid glands, or appear injuries of reddish color inskin. Skin takes a yellowish dye (jaundice), and in advanced stadiums it can become darker. Other frequent complications are the appearance of varicose oesophageal veins (dilation of the veins of oesophagus) that can bleed or hepatic encephalopatia (patients turn out to be confused, dozy and disoriented).
How is it transmitted?
Virus is contagious fundamentally across blood, seldom for sexual relations and exceptionally from mother to son. In enough occasions the way of contagion is not known. Risk of contagion increases considerably in following cases:
• People who has received a transfusion of blood or derivatives (serum, immunoglobulins etc) before 1990. After this date, the tests that are realized to the blood samples minimize so much risk that makes contagion very little probable.
• Users of drugs for venous route. This patients’ sub-group has a very high risk of having an infection for hepatitis C. Some studies demonstrate that up to 80-90 % of these subjects are carriers of above mentioned infection.
• Carriers of tattoos: tattoos and ‘piercing’ are a frequent vehicle of transmission of infection. When they are realized in places that do not observe measurements of hygiene demanded (use of unique needle for every individual, disposable material, suitable sterilization of materials) possibilities of contagion are very big.
• Precedents of surgical interventions, especially, major surgery. The way of contagion in these cases can be across wounds or blood of the surgical personnel, if they contact patients´ blood.
• Trips to zones where the C hepatitis is common (see map)
It is frecuent patients coinfected by the C hepatitis and virus of HIV. Presence of one of the infections can favor acquisition of the other one and evolution of both can turn influenced. In these cases, use of condom is forced to reduce risk contagion of both infections. Even when condom is used, and fundamentally because sometimes condoms can break, partners of individuals co-infected by both viruses must do to themselves periodic reviews to be sure of not having been contagious.
Why must I do to myself test of C hepatitis?
An early diagnosis is important so that it could:
• to be examined to detect an illness of the liver.
• to receive treatment, if it is necessary. There are medicines that have been approved for the treatment in the long term of persons with hepatitis C.
• to learn how you can protect your liver of major damages.
• to learn how you can avoid the transmission of HCV to other people.
Bibliography of hepatitis C section
- Laboratory diagnostics for hepatitis C virus infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Jul;55 Suppl 1:S43-8. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis368.
- Use and interpretation of hepatitis C virus diagnostic assays. Clin Liver Dis 2003; 7:127–37.
- Guidelines for Laboratory Testing and Result Reporting of Antibody to Hepatitis C Virus. 2003 MMWR 52(RR03);1-16
- Diagnóstico microbiológico de las hepatitis víricas. 2014 Procedimientos en Microbiología Clínica.