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RE: Do I need PCR?
Aug 12, 2006

Dear Dr., I've been doing some research over the web and found that a very rare strain of HBV called the S-mutant can be present in the blood and easily dodge the standard HBV test.This mutant is seen in regions like Germany, Italy and other countries along the Mediterraean area. Do you think that it would be wise that in the presence of risk factors, abnormal LFTs and the rest of standard tests negative, to take the HBV test by PCR test to be completly sure? Thanks!

Response from Dr. McGovern

It depends. If your core antibody is positive, then it may be reasonable, but I have only seen this S-mutant once myself - it is VERY rare. If your core antibody is negative, and your E antigen and E antibody are negative, I wouldn't bother.

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