Laboratory diagnosis of viral hepatitis

Donna M. Wolk, Mary F. Jones, Jon E. Rosenblatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Both serologic and molecular assays are useful in the diagnosis of viral hepatitis. They may detect early infections before other signs of disease appear, differentiate acute from chronic infections, and detect persistence of viremia or verify development of immunity. Molecular assays may also be used to monitor responses to antiviral therapy, and in the future, be a primary method to screen blood and organ donors (NAT). EIA serologies are used to diagnose acute HAV infections or establish immune status. Similar immunoassays are used to detect HBV infections, verify persistence of antigenemia and degree of infectivity, and indicate immunity (including the response to vaccination). HBV molecular assays can shorten the diagnostic window period, verify persistence of viremia, including monitoring response to antiviral therapy, and be useful in NAT screening of donors. Molecular assays play a major role in HCV diagnosis where serologic tests can document past or present infection but cannot differentiate one from the other. A variety of molecular tests can be used as sensitive (and early) detectors of viremia (and serve as confirmatory tests for positive serologies and as donor NAT methods), document its persistence as an indicator of chronic infection, and monitor responses to antiviral therapy. Both qualitative and quantitative molecular assays are available, and their efficient use requires familiarity with the sensitivity and dynamic ranges of each method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1109-1126
Number of pages18
JournalInfectious disease clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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