Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Virology. Feb 12, 2015; 4(1): 25-32
Published online Feb 12, 2015. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v4.i1.25
Current molecular methods for the detection of hepatitis C virus in high risk group population: A systematic review
Rushna Firdaus, Kallol Saha, Aritra Biswas, Provash Chandra Sadhukhan
Rushna Firdaus, Kallol Saha, Aritra Biswas, Provash Chandra Sadhukhan, ICMR Virus Unit, I.D and B.G Hospital Campus, GB-4 (East Wing), Beliaghata, Kolkata 700010, India
Author contributions: Firdaus R and Saha K contributed equally to the work, wrote the manuscript and prepared the figures; Biswas A helped them and Sadhukhan PC looked into overall aspect in manuscript study design and checked the draft.
Conflict-of-interest: The authors have no conflict of interest to report
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Dr. Provash Chandra Sadhukhan, I.C.M.R. Virus Unit Kolkata, I.D and B.G Hospital Campus, GB-4 (East Wing), 1st Floor, 57, Dr. Suresh Chandra Banerjee Road, Beliaghata, Kolkata 700010, India.
Telephone: +91-33-23537425 Fax: +91-33-23537424
Received: September 24, 2014
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.

Keywords: Molecular detection, Enzyme immunoassay, High risk group population, Nucleic acid amplification assays, Polymerase chain reaction

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.