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Study of the Humoral Immune Response towards HCV Genotype 4 Using a Bead-Based Multiplex Serological Assay

Filomena, A., Göpfert, J. C., Duffy, D., Pol, S., Abdel-Hamid, M., Esmat, G., Fontanet, A., Albert, M., Joos, T., Schneiderhan-Marra, N. (2017).

High-Throughput 6(4): 15.

Hepatitis C is one of the leading causes of hepatocellular carcinoma and remains at a high prevalence in Egypt and other resource-limited countries. Several hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes are distributed throughout the world, with genotype 4 being most common in North and Central Africa. We developed a multiplex serological assay for the detection of the HCV specific humoral immune response, with a focus on genotype 4. For the multiplex HCV assay we used twelve antigenic regions of different HCV proteins (core, and non-structural (NS) proteins NS3, NS4, NS5A, NS5B) and validated the assay technically and clinically. In comparison to a commercially available test, our assay revealed a higher sensitivity for genotype 4, and is therefore more suited for studying immune seroconversion in samples from acutely infected Egyptian HCV patients. Furthermore, our assay discriminates acutely and chronically infected HCV patients. Of 296 well characterized HCV patient samples, 83.9% of the acute samples and 86.5% of the chronic samples could be correctly classified. In sum, this newly developed serological HCV assay has a higher sensitivity for HCV genotype 4, and can thus improve diagnostic accuracy. Through the discrimination of acutely and chronically infected HCV patients the assay may be useful in supporting clinical management of HCV patients.

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