Improved detection of hepatitis C virus infection by transcription-mediated amplification technology in dialysis population

Vinaya Rao, Fabrizio Fabrizi, Phillip Pennell, Eugene Schiff, Maria De Medina, Jeannine R. Lane, Paul Martin, Linda Ivor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains common among patients undergoing maintenance dialysis and plays an adverse effect on survival in this population. Accurate detection of HCV viremia (HCV RNA) in dialysis patients requires a sensitive and specific diagnostic test. Methods: The Versant™ HCV RNA Qualitative Assay, based on transcription-mediated amplification (TMA) technique, was prospectively evaluated in 112 dialysis patients. Performance characteristics of the Versant HCV TMA Assay were evaluated in comparison to the Amplicor® 2.0 HCV test based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. In addition, anti-HCV serologic tests including third-generation enzyme immunoassay and Recombinant Immunoblot Assay were performed. Results: Of the 112 specimens tested, 29 were reactive by Versant HCV TMA Assay, yielding an overall prevalence of HCV viremia of 25.9. The concordance between TMA and PCR techniques was excellent [91 (101112)]. Eleven specimens (10) were invalid or equivocal by PCR due to interference phenomena; all 11 specimens had valid TMA results (2 patients being TMA reactive and 9 nonreactive). Four specimens [3.6 (4112)] that tested PCR-negative and HCV TMA nonreactive were anti-HCV seropositive, consistent with resolved HCV infection. In the group of seronegative samples, one was reactive by TMA Assay [1.25 (180)]. Conclusions: The HCV TMA technology seems a highly sensitive tool for detecting HCV RNA in the dialysis population, with no evidence of specimen interference. One EIA-negative but HCV-RNA-positive patient by Versant HCV TMA Assay was identified. Prospective clinical trials are under way to assess the clinical impact related to the use of HCV TMA technology in dialysis population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-726
Number of pages6
JournalRenal Failure
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Dialysis
  • HCV viremia
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Transcription-mediated amplification technology


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