Performance Characteristics of a New Consensus Commercial Kit for Hepatitis D Virus RNA Viral Load Quantification
Hepatitis D virus (HDV) is responsible for fulminant hepatitis and liver failure and accelerates evolution toward cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-infected patients. To date, treatment relies upon long-term administration of pegylated alpha-interferon with a sustained virological response in 30% of the patients. Very recently, new, promising anti-HDV therapies have been developed and are already being used in clinical trials. HDV RNA viral load (HDVL) monitoring must be an integral part of the management of the infected patients. However, HDV genus is characterized by a high genetic variability into eight genotypes (HDV-1 to -8), and most available in-house or commercial assays are useful for only a limited subset of genotypes. Results of a comparison of the performance of a new kit for HDVL quantification with the consensus in-house assay of the French National Reference Laboratory for HDV developed in 2005 are reported here. A total of 611 clinical samples of all HDV genotypes with various HDVL values, including several consecutive samples over several years from 36 patients, were studied. A specificity, sensitivity, and reproducibility evaluation was conducted using HDV-positive clinical samples, hepatitis A, B, C and E (HAV, HBV, HCV, and HEV, respectively) and HIV mono-infected samples, and the WHO HDV RNA international standard. Overall results were strictly comparable between the two assays (median difference, 0.07 log IU/ml), with high diagnosis precision and capacity. In summary, this new kit showed high performance in detection/quantification of HDVL, regardless of the genotype of the infecting strain used, and seems to be a suitable tool for patient management.
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