Published online Nov 14, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i42.11954
Peer-review started: April 24, 2015
First decision: July 13, 2015
Revised: July 29, 2015
Accepted: September 14, 2015
Article in press: September 14, 2015
Published online: November 14, 2015
Despite availability of a universal vaccine, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has a huge impact on public health worldwide. Accurate and timely diagnosis of HBV infection is needed. Rapid developments have been made in the diagnostic and monitoring methods for HBV infection, including serological and molecular assays. In clinical practice, qualitative hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) testing has long served as a diagnostic marker for individuals infected with HBV. More recently, HBsAg level has been used to predict treatment outcome when determined early during treatment or at baseline. However, identification of HBV DNA positive cases that do not have detectable HBsAg has encouraged the application of molecular tests. Hence, combination of quantitative detection of HBV DNA and HBsAg can be used to discriminate patients during the course of HBV infection and to monitor therapy. This article reviews the most commonly used quantitative methods for HBsAg and HBV DNA.
Core tip: The combination of quantitative detection of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA can be used to classify individuals during the course of HBV infection and to monitor therapy. The most popular platforms for HBsAg detection are based on chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay, while polymerase chain reaction based methods are widely used for HBV DNA assay. Recently, isothermal amplification and biosensors offered a lower cost and more rapid alternative for HBV quantification. This article reviews the most commonly used quantitative methods for HBV.