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Quantitative vs Qualitative?
Sep 4, 2006

Doctor:

What do you recommend when testing HBV DNA -- quantitative or qualitative testing? When trying to figure out unusual hepatitis tests is quantitative or qualitative preferred and why?

Thank you.

Response from Dr. McGovern

There is a range of tests for hepatitis B that tell us different things.

For example, in a patient with chronic HBV, I like to follow their viral load on treatment to see how they are responding to the therapy. A decline followed by a rise in virus might mean the onset of drug resistance.

In the course of treatment however, one of the most important things to occur in a patient with chronic HBV is "seroconversion" - the change from an E antigen positive state to loss of E antigen to gain of E antibody. This seroconversion event is usually accompanied by low or non-detectable HBV DNA and slowing of the course of disease. So these tests are also important.



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