Use and interpretation of virological tests for hepatitis C

Jean-Michel Pawlotsky
Hepatology: Official Journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases 2002, 36 (5): S65-73
Four virological markers of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are used clinically for management of patients with hepatitis C, namely the HCV genotype, HCV RNA, HCV core antigen, and antibody to HCV (anti-HCV). The diagnosis of acute and chronic hepatitis C is based on both anti-HCV detection using enzyme immunoassays (EIA) and HCV RNA detection using a sensitive molecular biology-based technique. Other virological tools, including HCV genotype determination and HCV RNA quantification, are now used to tailor treatment to the individual patient and to determine its efficacy. This article reviews the kinetics of HCV markers during acute and chronic HCV infection, together with current assays and their practical use in the management of HCV-infected patients.

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