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QUALITATIVE
Dec 15, 2000

I WAS TEST FOR HCB, THE QUALITIVE BY PCR WAS POSITIVE. THE QUANTITATION WAS LESS THAN 600. REFERENCE RANGE- NO HEPATITIS C VIRIS RNA DETECTED (NEGATIVE), I'M VERY CONFUSED, DO I HAVE HEP. C OR NOT?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

First I assume that you had an HCV antibody test that was positive. There are two kinds of HCV viral load tests, a qualitative test (which is just yes or no; is the virus present in the blood) and a quantitative test (which gives an actual copy number, or international units (IU)/ml). These tests have different sensitivity thresholds. In other words, the lowest copy number they can detect. The qualitative test can give you a yes/no answer below 100 copies, while the quantitative test only goes down to 600 copies. So it is conceivable to have a negative quantitative test and positive qualitative test.

MH



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