Significance of Hepatitis B Virus Diagnosis by Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction over Serological Markers in Hepatitis B Virus Patients
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the leading cause of viral hepatitis, as currently over 2 billion people have HBV infection worldwide. Nucleic acid assay and quantitative hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) have been developed for diagnostic and therapeutic monitoring of patients with HBV infection. These tests might also show correlation between HBV DNA and HBs serostatus. The study aimed to find and analyze the frequency and impact of HBsAg seropositivity among patients revealed HBV DNA negative level through quantitative estimation of both seromarkers. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Elecsys assays were used for quantitative estimation of HBV DNA and HBs antigen, respectively. A total of 256 blood samples were used from patients referred for either diagnostic purpose and/or HBV viral load monitoring after antiviral therapy. Blood profile analysis showed 12.26% HBs antigen seropositivity among patients revealed negative for nucleic acid assay for HBV DNA. Positive HBs antigen titers ranged from 1000–50,000 COI, with seronegative anti-HBs antibody test for all samples tested positive for HBs antigen. This study delineated that negative or undetectable quantitation of HBV DNA level does not exclude HBV infection; as the level might fluctuate in different phases of HBV replication. This gives an impression and raising a question about significance of replacing test for HBsAg with quantitation of HBV DNA PCR assay. Thus, the study refers to a special HBV profile outside the classical pattern.
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