Significance of highly positive c22-3 "indeterminate" second-generation hepatitis C virus (HCV) recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA) and resolution by third-generation HCV RIBA
Pawlotsky, J.M.; Fleury, A.; Choukroun, V.; Deforges, L.; Roudot-Thoraval, F.; Aumont, P.; Duval, J.; Dhumeaux, D.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology 32(5): 1357-1359
ISSN/ISBN: 0095-1137 PMID: 7519631 Accession: 044324965
Second-generation recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA) is widely used for the validation of anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody detection. The aims of this work were (i) to determine, in terms of liver disease and HCV replication, the significance of a peculiar "indeterminate" second-generation RIBA pattern characterized by the presence of high titers of antibodies directed to c22-3, a protein bearing core epitopes and (ii) to determine whether a more advanced version of the same strip assay, namely a third-generation RIBA, may solve the problem of such indeterminate patterns. Sixty patients for which c22-3 indeterminate second-generation RIBAs were highly positive were studied. Forty-two of them (70%) were immunocompromised. Serum transaminases were increased in 46 cases (77%), and HCV RNA was detected by PCR in 50 cases (83%). Third-generation RIBA remained highly positive c22 indeterminate for 9 patients (15%) but was positive for 51 (85%), mostly because of increased sensitivity for the detection of both anti-c100 and anti-c33c antibodies. These results suggest that third-generation RIBA may achieve resolution of most of these cases but that highly positive c22 indeterminate third-generation RIBA may persist when used with some patients with very low titers of anti-HCV nonstructural protein antibodies.