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Hepatitis C Viral Load Test

What Is Hepatitis C Test

Living with Hepatitis C: Viral Load Testing at The Chance Center

Hepatitis C Test is a blood test that is used for the detection of the Hepatitis C virus. There are several types of Hepatitis C test that is used by doctors for the diagnosis of Hepatitis C. The varied Hepatitis C tests are

Hepatitis C Antibody Test : Hepatitis C antibody test is used by doctors to ascertain whether or not a person has been affected by the HCV at any point of his/her life by detecting Hepatitis C antibodies in the blood.

Hepatitis C RNA Qualitative Test : Also referred to as PCR test, this test screens for current infection of the virus.

Hepatitis C RNA Quantitative Test: As the name suggests it is a quantitative test and measures the amount of Hepatitis C virus in the body. The Hepatitis C RNA Quantitative Test is also referred to as viral load test.

Pregnancy And Hepatitis C

Should pregnant women be tested for HCV antibodies?

Yes. All pregnant women should be screened for anti-HCV during each pregnancy, except in settings where the prevalence of HCV infection is < 0.1% . Pregnant women with known risk factors should be tested during each pregnancy, regardless of setting prevalence. Any pregnant women testing positive for anti-HCV should receive a PCR test for HCV RNA to determine current infection status.

Can a mother with hepatitis C infect her infant during birth?

The overall risk of an infected mother transmitting HCV to her infant is approximately 4%8% per pregnancy . Transmission occurs during pregnancy or childbirth, and no prophylaxis is available to protect the newborn from infection. The risk is significantly higher if the mother has a high HCV viral load, or is coinfected with HIV with which the rate of transmission ranges from 8%15% . Most infants infected with HCV at birth have no symptoms.

Should a woman with hepatitis C be advised against breastfeeding?

When should children born to HCV-infected mothers be tested to see if they were infected at birth?

Appropriate Uses Of The Hcv Rna Test

There are 4 major reasons that HCV RNA tests are used:

  • To confirm a positive HCV Ab result and make the diagnosis of current HCV infection
  • To measure a patient’s baseline viral load prior to starting HCV therapy
  • To monitor a patient’s response to therapy
  • To determine whether a patient has achieved a sustained virologic response
  • More rarely, HCV RNA is used when either very acute HCV infection is suspected or a false HCV Ab is suspected.

    It would not be appropriate to repeatedly order HCV RNA viral load screening for a patient who is not on or was recently on HCV treatment, or to use the HCV viral load to determine the severity of the patient’s infection or the patient’s risk of developing significant liver disease.

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    Testing People At Risk

    According to the CDC, about 2.4 million people in the United States are living with hepatitis C. The most common cause of the infection is sharing needles or syringes. Cases have been on the rise in the U.S. because of the widespread use of intravenous drugs such as opioids.

    Testing people for hepatitis C antibodies can show whether they were ever exposed to the virus, but that does not mean that they are currently infected. A test that looks for genetic material from the virus, like the new combination test, can show whether the virus is present as well as the level of the virus in the blood .

    Hepatitis C can be a silent disease that goes undiagnosed for many years. Therefore, the CDC recommends that all adults be tested for antibodies to the virus at least once and that people who inject drugs get tested regularly.

    Christopher Hall, MD, the medical director for clinical affairs for Molecular Testing Labs , tells Verywell that when they were the medical director at a clinic in Oakland, every person who came in got screened for hepatitis C.

    âWhat would happen is you find the subset of people who were positive, and then you’d have to get them to come back to get the viral load to determine whether they needed treatment or not,” Hall tells Verywell.

    Studies have shown that hepatitis C testing at drug treatment clinics, as well as at-home self-testing, is a feasible and effective way to screen people for infection.

    Are Test Results Accurate

    Viral hepatitis stock image. Image of fever, abuse, patient

    Although no test is perfect, hepatitis C testing is an important and accepted method of testing for HCV. In order to reduce the risk of inaccurate results, doctors take steps to verify a patients diagnosis. For example, a positive test result for hepatitis C antibody requires confirmation with HCV RNA testing.

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    Time For Processing Hcv Ab Test Results

    The turnaround time for 3rd-generation EIAs is at least 1 day. Many labs do not perform the tests on site and must send specimens to another lab for processing, which may further increase the turnaround time.

    A point-of-care test is also available. The OraQuick® HCV Rapid Antibody Test is an FDA-approved test that can be performed with a fingerstick . It is also a CLIA-waived test and therefore can be used in clinic offices and outreach facilities. Results are reported as reactive or nonreactive within 20 minutes. Just as for the standard HCV Ab test done in the lab, a positive OraQuick® test must be confirmed by an HCV RNA test. The sensitivity and specificity of the test is similar to that of the laboratory-based assays.

    What Is The Viral Load Test

    A viral load test measures the amount of HIV in your blood. A sample of blood is sent to a laboratory, where the number of copies of a specific part of the virus called RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is measured. A viral load test result is given as the number of copies/millilitre of blood. The lower the number, the less virus there is in the blood. Numbers can range from over 1,000,000 copies/ml to undetectable.

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    Questions For Your Doctor About Test Results

    Patients receiving hepatitis C testing may find it helpful to ask questions about their test results. Questions to consider include:

    • What type of hepatitis C test did I receive?
    • What was my test result?
    • How do you interpret the results of the hepatitis C tests that I had?
    • Do I need any follow-up tests based on my test result?

    How Is The Test Used

    Viral Load| Viral Load Hepatitis B Test| Made Easy| Explained| YouTube Shorts

    The viral load is helpful in several areas:

    • Diagnosis. The test can detect the presence of HCV a few days after HCV infection, before an antibody test becomes positive.
    • Confirming chronic infection. As noted above, up to 15% of people infected with HCV clear the infection. This process may take up to 6 months. But antibody tests on these people will still show a positive result. A viral load test is used to determine if they have chronic infection.
    • Predicting treatment success. People with viral loads below 400,000 before they start treatment generally have better treatment results.
    • Managing therapy. The test shows if treatment is controlling the virus.

    There are several viral load measures of treatment response. These are described below.HCV viral load cannot be used the same way as the HIV viral load .It is not a good indicator of how serious the hepatitis is, or how fast it will progress. It is also more complicated to use in evaluating response to treatment.

    in the past, lower viral loads are associated with better response to HCV therapy, but this is no longer the case with modern HCV drugs. Also, higher viral loads are linked to higher risk of transmission of HCV, at least from pregnant mothers to their newborns.

    There are several types of HCV viral load response to treatment: ETR :This means having an undetectable HCV viral load at the end of HCV treatment.

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    Meaning Of Hcv Viral Load

    The number of HCV RNA international units per milliliter of blood must be measured before treatment and during the course of treatment, to assess response. Before treatment, however, the HCV viral load is not related to the patient’s liver disease severity or HCV prognosis. This is important for patients and providers to understand.

    Note: In hepatitis B, unlike hepatitis C, a higher HBV DNA viral load does correlate with increased disease severity and increased likelihood of outcomes such as hepatocellular carcinoma.

    Why This Test Is Performed

    This test is performed to check the presence of Hepatitis C Viral load in the blood. The doctor may ask you to undergo this test if you are suffering from symptoms and conditions such as liver cancer, cirrhosis, jaundice, fever, dark urine, abdominal pain, joint pain etc. If an individual is on the treatment for Hepatitis C virusHCV then the doctor may ask to perform this test to evaluate and to check the effectiveness of the treatment. Mostly, this test is done along with other hepatitis tests to confirm the diagnosis.

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    Can I Take The Test At Home

    At-home hepatitis C tests are available that allow patients to collect a blood sample at home and mail it to a laboratory for testing. Test samples are collected through pricking a finger with a sharp object, called a lancet, thats included in the test kit.

    At-home HCV testing is a form of hepatitis C antibody testing and does not test for hepatitis C RNA or the strains genotype. Testing for hepatitis C at home is not a substitute for testing performed by a health care professional, and positive test results may need to be confirmed by laboratory-based testing.

    What The Qualitative Results Mean

    What Is Hepatitis C Viral Load?

    The qualitative results indicate that HCV is present in your blood. The test result will be either detected or undetected.

    Detected means that you do have the virus in your blood. Undetected means that you dont have the virus in your blood, or you have a tiny amount that cant be detected by this test.

    The qualitative test results may still be positive even if your viral load has decreased drastically due to treatment.

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    How Serious Is It

    • People can be sick for a few weeks to a few months
    • Most recover with no lasting liver damage
    • Although very rare, death can occur
    • 15%25% of chronically infected people develop chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer
    • More than 50% of people who get infected with the hepatitis C virus develop a chronic infection
    • 5%-25% of people with chronic hepatitis C develop cirrhosis over 1020 years

    Hepatitis A is spread when a person ingests fecal mattereven in microscopic amountsfrom contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.

    Hepatitis B is primarily spread when blood, semen, or certain other body fluids- even in microscopic amounts from a person infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. The hepatitis B virus can also be transmitted from:

    • Birth to an infected mother
    • Sex with an infected person
    • Sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles, syringes, and even medical equipment, such as glucose monitors
    • Sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or razors
    • Poor infection control has resulted in outbreaks in health care facilities

    Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus even in microscopic amounts enters the body of someone who is not infected. The hepatitis C virus can also be transmitted from:

    How Much Does The Test Cost

    The cost of hepatitis C testing depends on the tests that are performed, where the test is conducted, and a patients health insurance coverage. When testing is ordered by a doctor, patients with health insurance may find it helpful to discuss the cost of hepatitis C testing with their insurance company. In addition to the cost of testing, there may be other out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles.

    For patients without health insurance, or for whom insurance doesnt cover the cost of testing, it may be helpful to discuss the cost of hepatitis C testing with a doctor or hospital administrator.

    At-home hepatitis C testing starts around $49. Some at-home kits test for multiple types of viral hepatitis at once, with the cost of these panels starting around $80.

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    Correlation Between Quantification Using Cobas Monitor V 20 And Ctm48 Hcv Asr

    To assess whether quantification by the real-time PCR ASR and quantitative conventional PCR methods correlated, 106 specimens that had been quantified by COBAS Monitor HCV v. 2.0 were quantified using the CTM48 HCV ASR assay. Specimens throughout the range of quantification were chosen for analysis. Data were logarithmically transformed prior to analysis. The distribution of genotypes was as follows: Gt1, n= 76 Gt2, n= 8 Gt3, n= 6 Gt4, n= 1. Genotypes were determined by direct sequencing of core-E1 sequences or Versant HCV genotyping assay . Genotype could not be determined for 15 specimens.

    Other Things To Know:

    Blood Test : HCV RNA By Real Time PCR Quantitative
    • The viral load measurement does not tell us anything about the severity of a patient’s liver disease or the degree of fibrosis . For that information, the patient would need additional testing.
    • It is not necessary to check the viral load repeatedly during treatment.
    • If a quantitative HCV RNA result is reported as “< 15 IU/L,” this means that the quantitative test cannot measure the hepatitis C virus. It may mean that there is no detectable HCV RNA at all, but it may mean that the level of virus is just too low for the test to pick it up.

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    What To Expect During Testing

    A healthcare provider will take a blood sample for analysis.

    Before the test, let them know if youre uncomfortable with certain needles or if youve ever passed out at the sight of blood. They can give you a snack to reduce your risk of fainting.

    The needle may sting a little as it enters your skin, and you may have a bruise on the site of the draw for a few days.

    Results are usually available within a few days or a few weeks at most.

    The HCV RNA PCR test is conducted through a process called polymerase chain reaction . There are two approaches to this process: qualitative and quantitative.

    What Does It Mean If My Viral Load Rises

    Many different factors can affect your viral load, such as the progress of HIV infection, your overall health, if you are on treatment whether it is working, and even how the test was performed that day. You and your doctor will try to find the cause of the rise in viral load by looking at your past viral load tests and by searching for other clues.

    If you see a rise in your viral load, your doctor may ask you to have another test right away. The second test helps to check whether the rise in viral load is temporary or a consistent trend. Temporary changes in viral load can have many causes. For example:

    • Sometimes, your viral load may become detectable on a single test and then go back to undetectable on the next test. This is called a blip and it is normal.
    • Your viral load may rise temporarily if you have a cold or other brief illness, or after a vaccination. You might want to wait a month after a vaccination before you have another viral load test.

    The way a viral load test is done varies from laboratory to laboratory, and this may change test results. Be aware of this when comparing tests done by two different laboratories, especially if they are in different provinces or countries. If the rise in viral load cannot be explained any other way, it might be a sign that you and your doctor need to look at your treatment plan.

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    P996 Prevalence Risk Factors And Molecular Epidemiology Of Hepatitis C Virus Infection In The General Population A Community

    1 Dept. of Experim. and Clin. Med., Univ. of Reggio Calabria, Italy, 2Lab. of Epidemiol., Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy, 3Lab. of Virol., Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy, 4 Dept. of Microbiol., Univ. of Reggio Calabria, Italy, 5 Clinic of Infectious Diseases, Univ. of Naples, ItalyObjectives:Methods:Results:

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    Extraction Of Hcv Rna

    Hepatitis C Quantification (Viral Load)

    HCV RNA was extracted using the kit ABIOpureTM Viral DNA/RNA Extraction following the recommendations or instructions of the manufacturer. Viral load and HCV genotyping were performed, respectively, using the kits Iontek HCV Quant and Iontek genotyping Real Time PCR on the ABI 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR System following the protocol provided by the manufacturer.

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    Hepatitis C And Health

    How can health-care personnel avoid exposure to HCV?

    Avoiding occupational exposure to blood is the primary way to prevent transmission of bloodborne illnesses among health-care personnel. To promote blood safety in the workplace, health-care personnel should consult infectious-disease control guidance from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and from CDC. Depending on the medical procedure involved, Standard Precautions may include the appropriate use of personal protective equipment .

    What is the risk of acquiring hepatitis C after being accidentally exposed to HCV-contaminated blood or body fluids in the workplace?

    Although sharps injuries have decreased in recent decades due to improved prevention measures, they continue to occur, placing health-care personnel at risk for several bloodborne pathogens like hepatitis C. A recent analysis of several studies revealed an overall 0.2% risk for infection among those exposed to HCV-antibody-positive blood through needlestick or sharps injuries . Updated guidelines for management and treatment of hepatitis Cexternal icon are available to provide guidance for health-care personnel who become infected via exposure to contaminated blood at the workplace.

    Other than needlesticks, do other exposures place health-care personnel at risk for hepatitis C?

    Should HCV-infected health-care personnel be restricted in their work?

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