Diagnosis of hepatitis C virus infection by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and reverse transcriptase-nested polymerase chain reaction: a comparative evaluation.
ABSTRACT Hepatitis C virus is one of the main causes of chronic hepatitis in developing countries. The current study was to evaluate the efficacy of the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay third generation (ELISA-3) for detection of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) in comparison with reverse transcriptase-nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-nested PCR) to detect HCV RNA for the diagnosis of hepatitis C virus. Serum samples were collected from 151 chronic hepatitis C patients and 50 healthy individuals. All samples were tested for anti-HCV antibodies using ELISA-3 and HCV RNA by RT-nested PCR. Of the 151,120 (78.9%) were found to be seropositive by ELISA-3, and 148 (98%) patients were HCV RNA positive, 118 (78.1%) were positives for both, 30 (19.9%) were positive for ELISA-3 and negative for RT-PCR, and 2 cases (1.3%) were positive for RT-nested PCR and negative for ELISA-3. The sensitivity and the specificity for the detection of HCV were absolute when the two techniques were combined. In conclusion, ELISA-3 is a suitable assay for routine screening for anti-HCV. RT-nested PCR for HCV is a value for the early detection of viremic, anti-HCV negative cases; this may be of importance in treatment of hepatitis C.