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Vox Sang 2012 Aug;103(2):99-106

Distribution of hepatitis C virus in circulating blood components from blood donors.

Chancey C, Winkelman V, Foley JB, Silberstein E, Teixeira-Carvalho A, Taylor DR, Rios M


Background and Objectives¿ Current nucleic acid tests (NAT) for blood donor screening use plasma as the test sample and, consequently, cannot detect virions bound to blood cells of infected donors. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA and infectious virions have been detected in association with the cellular components of blood of patients with active liver disease; however, studies comparing HCV viral loads in whole blood and plasma have generated contradictory results. The aim of this study was to investigate the distribution of HCV in different compartments of the peripheral blood from HCV-infected blood donors, which may differ from that observed in patients with HCV-associated liver disease. Materials and Methods¿ Hepatitis C virus-positive donor specimens were identified by NAT and antibody testing. HCV RNA was extracted from samples of whole blood and their corresponding components (RBC and plasma). Viral RNA was quantified by real-time qRT-PCR. Results¿ Hepatitis C virus was present in all blood components from infected donors from which RNA could be amplified. For the majority of samples, plasma (34/46) had the highest detectable concentration of HCV RNA, and RBC (37/46) had the lowest. Specimens with negative NAT and positive antibody assays also produced qRT-PCR negative results. Conclusion¿ These results indicate that including the RBC fraction in the tested sample will not increase assay sensitivity. Although 10% of the specimens had a higher viral load in whole blood, there was no significant overall increase in sensitivity to justify changes in the specimen format. Thus, plasma specimens are well suited for blood donor screening for HCV.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #22404907 DOI: 10.1111/j.1423-0410.2012.01598.x
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2011-10-05 Entry Last Modified: 2012-08-29