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  FOCUS ON HEPATITIS C VIRUS INFECTIONS 

Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2004 March;50(1):9-20

Copyright © 2004 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Laboratory approaches to the diagnosis of hepatitis C virus infection

Jerome K. R., Gretch D. R.


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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major and growing health problem worldwide. Laboratory testing plays an important role in the response to the HCV epidemic. Serologic tests for antibody to HCV are useful for screening purposes. The mainstays of laboratory testing for HCV, however, are the molecular approaches. Qualitative molecular tests are useful for confirmation of positive screening tests. Quantitative molecular tests provide prognostic information regarding the likelihood of response to therapy, and allow the monitoring of treatment efficacy. Similarly, genotyping assays predict response to therapy, and allow rational decisions regarding duration of treatment. The combination of continually improving laboratory testing, together with new drugs targeting distinct molecular determinants that are either essential or important in the viral replication cycle, is likely to lead to dramatic improvements in the management of HCV disease.

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