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      Cost-effective analysis of different algorithms for the diagnosis of hepatitis C virus infection


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          We compared the cost-benefit of two algorithms, recently proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, with the conventional one, the most appropriate for the diagnosis of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the Brazilian population. Serum samples were obtained from 517 ELISA-positive or -inconclusive blood donors who had returned to Fundação Pró-Sangue/Hemocentro de São Paulo to confirm previous results. Algorithm A was based on signal-to-cut-off (s/co) ratio of ELISA anti-HCV samples that show s/co ratio ³95% concordance with immunoblot (IB) positivity. For algorithm B, reflex nucleic acid amplification testing by PCR was required for ELISA-positive or -inconclusive samples and IB for PCR-negative samples. For algorithm C, all positive or inconclusive ELISA samples were submitted to IB. We observed a similar rate of positive results with the three algorithms: 287, 287, and 285 for A, B, and C, respectively, and 283 were concordant with one another. Indeterminate results from algorithms A and C were elucidated by PCR (expanded algorithm) which detected two more positive samples. The estimated cost of algorithms A and B was US$21,299.39 and US$32,397.40, respectively, which were 43.5 and 14.0% more economic than C (US$37,673.79). The cost can vary according to the technique used. We conclude that both algorithms A and B are suitable for diagnosing HCV infection in the Brazilian population. Furthermore, algorithm A is the more practical and economical one since it requires supplemental tests for only 54% of the samples. Algorithm B provides early information about the presence of viremia.

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          The prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in the United States, 1988 through 1994.

          Because many persons with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are asymptomatic, population-based serologic studies are needed to estimate the prevalence of the infection and to develop and evaluate prevention efforts. We performed tests for antibody to HCV (anti-HCV) on serum samples from 21,241 persons six years old or older who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted during 1988 through 1994. We determined the prevalence of HCV RNA by means of nucleic acid amplification and the genotype by means of sequencing. The overall prevalence of anti-HCV was 1.8 percent, corresponding to an estimated 3.9 million persons nationwide (95 percent confidence interval, 3.1 million to 4.8 million) with HCV infection. Sixty-five percent of the persons with HCV infection were 30 to 49 years old. Seventy-four percent were positive for HCV RNA, indicating that an estimated 2.7 million persons in the United States (95 percent confidence interval, 2.4 million to 3.0 million) were chronically infected, of whom 73.7 percent were infected with genotype 1 (56.7 percent with genotype 1a, and 17.0 percent with genotype 1b). Among subjects 17 to 59 years of age, the strongest factors independently associated with HCV infection were illegal drug use and high-risk sexual behavior. Other factors independently associated with infection included poverty, having had 12 or fewer years of education, and having been divorced or separated. Neither sex nor racial-ethnic group was independently associated with HCV infection. In the United States, about 2.7 million persons are chronically infected with HCV. People who use illegal drugs or engage in high-risk sexual behavior account for most persons with HCV infection.
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            Isolation of a cDNA clone derived from a blood-borne non-A, non-B viral hepatitis genome

            A random-primed complementary DNA library was constructed from plasma containing the uncharacterized non-A, non-B hepatitis (NANBH) agent and screened with serum from a patient diagnosed with NANBH. A complementary DNA clone was isolated that was shown to encode an antigen associated specifically with NANBH infections. This clone is not derived from host DNA but from an RNA molecule present in NANBH infections that consists of at least 10,000 nucleotides and that is positive-stranded with respect to the encoded NANBH antigen. These data indicate that this clone is derived from the genome of the NANBH agent and are consistent with the agent being similar to the togaviridae or flaviviridae. This molecular approach should be of great value in the isolation and characterization of other unidentified infectious agents.
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              Typing of hepatitis C virus isolates and characterization of new subtypes using a line probe assay.

              A reverse-hybridization assay, the line probe assay (LiPA), based on variations found in the 5' untranslated regions of the different hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes was developed, permitting simple and fast determination of four HCV genotypes and their subtypes. Using this assay, 61 PCR-positive Brazilian HCV sera were typed. Of the sera, 33% had a type 1 HCV infection, 38% had type 1b (related to HCV-J), 1.5% had type 2a (related to HC-J6), 24.5% had type 3 (related to E-b1 and HCV-T), and 3% of the sera were co-infected. This assay format was further evaluated using 13 sera from Belgium and the Netherlands, and all of these could be classified. Two pools of Japanese sera were classified as either type 2a or were co-infected with types 1b and 2a, but no type 2b sequences were detected. Another eight PCR-positive sera were obtained from Burundi and Gabon. The sequence of the 5' untranslated region of these African viruses was strongly divergent from the three previously described types. Therefore, these isolates were tentatively classified as type 4. These and some of the other non-type 1 sera often demonstrated weaker reactivities than type 1 isolates in currently used second generation antibody confirmation assays.

                Author and article information

                Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
                Braz J Med Biol Res
                Associação Brasileira de Divulgação Científica (Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil )
                February 2008
                : 41
                : 2
                : 126-134
                [01] São Paulo SP orgnameUniversidade de São Paulo orgdiv1Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas orgdiv2Departamento de Análises Clínicas e Toxicológicas Brasil
                [02] São Paulo SP orgnameFundação Pró-Sangue Hemocentro de São Paulo Brasil
                S0100-879X2008000200009 S0100-879X(08)04100209

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

                : 26 November 2007
                : 11 May 2007
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 28, Pages: 9

                SciELO Brazil


                ELISA,Hepatitis C virus,Diagnosis,Algorithm,Immunoblot,Polymerase chain reaction
                ELISA, Hepatitis C virus, Diagnosis, Algorithm, Immunoblot, Polymerase chain reaction


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