RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Relative efficacy of nucleic acid amplification testing and serologic screening in preventing hepatitis C virus transmission risk in seven international regions.

Transfusion 2015 June
BACKGROUND: The relative contribution of serologic screening and nucleic acid testing (NAT) to prevent hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission has not been rigorously addressed.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Twenty-one blood organizations in seven geographical regions performing individual-donation (ID)-NAT in parallel with anti-HCV screening provided data from 10,897,105 donations to establish HCV infection rates in first-time, lapsed, and repeat donations. Screening efficacy was modeled for: anti-HCV alone, HCV antigen/antibody (combo), minipool (MP)-NAT in pools of 8 and 16 with anti-HCV, ID-NAT and anti-HCV, and ID-NAT alone. Probabilities of infectivity for red blood cell transfusions were estimated as 100% from window period (WP) and concordant HCV RNA/antibody-positive (concordantly positive [CP]) donations and 0.028% from anti-HCV-positive and RNA-negative probable resolved (PR) donations.

RESULTS: There were 5146 confirmed infections (30 WP, 3827 CP, and 1289 PR). Infection rates and transmission risks varied substantially across regions and by donation status. Residual risk with ID-NAT and serology screening was estimated at one in 250,000 in Egypt and at one in 10,000,000 in other regions combined; risk would increase to one in 7300 and one in 312,000, respectively, if NAT had not been performed. ID-NAT with or without anti-HCV testing showed higher efficacy than either MP-NAT or combo assays, particularly in lapsed or repeat donors in whom 99.2, 98.5, and 93.2% of infectious donations were estimated to be interdicted by these respective testing strategies.

CONCLUSIONS: The incremental efficacy of anti-HCV testing when ID- NAT screening is performed was minimal, particularly for screening lapsed and repeat donations.

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