Published online Feb 12, 2015. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v4.i1.25
Peer-review started: September 26, 2014
First decision: October 28, 2014
Revised: December 13, 2014
Accepted: December 29, 2014
Article in press: December 31, 2014
Published online: February 12, 2015
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an emerging infection worldwide and the numbers of persons infected are increasing every year. Poor blood transfusion methods along with unsafe injection practices are potential sources for the rapid spread of infection. Early detection of HCV is the need of the hour especially in high risk group population as these individuals are severely immunocompromised. Enzyme Immunoassays are the most common detection techniques but they provide no evidence of active viremia or identification of infected individuals in the antibody-negative phase and their efficacy is limited in individuals within high risk group population. Molecular virological techniques have an important role in detecting active infection with utmost specificity and sensitivity. Technologies for assessment of HCV antibody and RNA levels have improved remarkably, as well as our understanding of how to best use these tests in patient management. This review aims to give an overview of the different serological and molecular methods employed in detecting HCV infection used nowadays. Additionally, the review gives an insight in the new molecular techniques that are being developed to improve the detection techniques particularly in High Risk Group population who are severely immunocompromised.
Core tip: The review focuses on the current molecular diagnostic techniques that are being used to detect hepatitis C virus worldwide. Special emphasis is given on the detection techniques that can be used to screen the individuals with repeated blood transfusion history; particularly thalassaemic individuals, intravenous drug users and persons on hemodialysis.