Article

Clinical evaluation of the COBAS Ampliprep™/COBAS TaqMan™ for HCV RNA quantitation in comparison with the branched-DNA assay

Laboratory of Microbiology, Molinette Hospital, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.
Journal of Medical Virology (Impact Factor: 2.22). 02/2008; 80(2):254-60. DOI: 10.1002/jmv.21073
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Diagnosis and monitoring of HCV infection relies on sensitive and accurate HCV RNA detection and quantitation. The performance of the COBAS AmpliPrep/COBAS TaqMan 48 (CAP/CTM) (Roche, Branchburg, NJ), a fully automated, real-time PCR HCV RNA quantitative test was assessed and compared with the branched-DNA (bDNA) assay. Clinical evaluation on 576 specimens obtained from patients with chronic hepatitis C showed a good correlation (r = 0.893) between the two test, but the CAP/CTM scored higher HCV RNA titers than the bDNA across all viral genotypes. The mean bDNA versus CAP/CTM log10 IU/ml differences were -0.49, -0.4, -0.54, -0.26 for genotype 1a, 1b, 2a/2c, 3a, and 4, respectively. These differences reached statistical significance for genotypes 1b, 2a/c, and 3a. The ability of the CAP/CTM to monitor patients undergoing antiviral therapy and correctly identify the weeks 4 and 12 rapid and early virological responses was confirmed. The broader dynamic range of the CAP/CTM compared with the bDNA allowed for a better definition of viral kinetics. In conclusion, the CAP/CTM appears as a reliable and user-friendly assay to monitor HCV viremia during treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis. Its high sensitivity and wide dynamic range may help a better definition of viral load changes during antiviral therapy.

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