May 27, 2006
Dear Dr. M,
What would be a reason for someone to have a false + antibody test for hepc and then have a neg riba? The signal to c/o ratio was 1.0 on the antibody and the riba was neg. I believe this means a neg result but the false + is confusing.
Thanks for your help.
Response from Dr. McGovern
Every lab test, no matter what it is, has some lack of sensitivity or specificity. What that means is that sometimes a test can come back positive and yet it was a false positive because the person just doesn't have that disease (lacking specificity). On the other hand, a test can come back negative and the person DOES have the disease (lacking sensitivity).Overall the antibody test for HCV has excellent sensitivity and specificity, but it is not 100 percent.
That is the beauty of the RIBA because this test performs EXTREMELY well. We just don't use it that much because it is expensive.
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