Washington D.C.: A team of researchers has come up with a one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections more quickly.
UC Irvine's Ke-Qin Hu said that the novel HCV antigen test system has significantly improved sensitivity and specificity over current tests, which requires two steps and can be expensive, inconvenient and is not widely available or affordable globally. Importantly, for the first time, researchers can use urine specimens for one-step screening and diagnosing of HCV infection.
Hu added that finding a more convenient, easy-to-use and cost-effective screening alternative is imperative, because HCV is significantly under-screened and under-diagnosed.
The ability to detect infection using urine rather than blood avoids needle stick and blood sample collection, greatly reduces the cost and necessary clinical infrastructure for screening and diagnosis, helping to promote widespread adoption of the test on a global scale, Hu said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 150 million people worldwide and 3.2 million people in the U.S. are infected with HCV. Effective screening and fast diagnosis are critical for treatment and controlling transmission.
The study will be presented at the Annual Meeting of American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) in San Francisco, Nov. 14-16.