Hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies - serum
Last updated: Tuesday, 23, March, 2004
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5-10 mL blood in plain tube.
Immunoassay ± immunoblot.
Detection of HCV as a cause of acute hepatitis, chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma;
Hepatitis C viral RNA provides a clearer indication of prognosis and infectivity and can be used to monitor treatment (see Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA).
A positive initial test for anti-HCV antibodies can only be considered as a definite positive result if it is confirmed by a second immunoassay using different antigens or an immunoblot.
Even with these precautions, false positive results do occur.
The test usually becomes positive 4 to 6 weeks after infection, but it may take up to 6 months for seroconversion to occur.
The significance of indeterminate results can only be determined by re-testing after 3 to 6 months.
Alternatively, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA may be useful for diagnosis or assessment of infectivity in this circumstance.
A positive HCV antibody test indicates previous or ongoing HCV infection.
Rosenberg PM. Clin Infect Dis 2001; 33: 1728-1732.