DOCTOR'S VIEWS ARCHIVE
Topic: Hepatitis C, June 2000
Dr. Edward Block:
There are several tests, Dennis. The first commonly ordered test is the hepatitis C antibody test (also known as anti-HCV antibody ) . A positive hepatitis C antibody test usually indicates previous exposure to hepatitis C. In other words not everyone testing positive to hepatitis C antibody actually has active hepatitis C infection.
To determine active hepatitis C infection, the doctor orders hepatitis C RNA test (also known as HCV RNA). This is an actual measure of virus in the blood and in the liver. Therefore a positive hepatitis C RNA test indicates active hepatitis C infection.
We can even take this one step further now and do specialized genotype testing. We now can actually determine the genotype (species) of hepatitis C that is infecting the patient. It turns out that different genotypes of hepatitis C virus may have very different responses to treatment.
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