Prevalence of non-A, non-B hepatitis/hepatitis C virus antibody in laboratory quality-assurance sera.
Quality-assurance sera (QAS) are prepared from pooled sera composed of thousands of individual donations. Previous studies documented that a substantial percentage of individual QAS test positive for viral disease markers, including antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus and to hepatitis B surface antigen. We tested 239 QAS from various proficiency programs and commercial sources to determine the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody. We tested samples for anti-HCV by using an enzyme immunoassay (EIA; Abbott Labs.) and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA; Ortho Diagnostics). We observed an overall positive rate of 49% by one or both assays in all categories of sera tested. In addition, we found a greater rate of positivity (58%) in proficiency program samples than in commercial samples (43%). We found discrepant results between the two assays for 15 of 239 samples (6%). In the discrepant samples, the EIA result was positive, whereas the ELISA result was negative. Anti-HCV positivity in QAS has important implications for laboratory personnel handling these samples.
Dodd, LG; McBride, JH; Gitnick, GL; Howanitz, PJ; Rodgerson, DO
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