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|Hepatitis C Virus - Hepatitis C virus is a small, enveloped, single-stranded, positive-sense RNA virus. It is the only known member of the hepacivirus genus in the family Flaviviridae. There are six major genotypes of the hepatitis C virus, which are indicated numerically - genotype 1 etc.). Based on the NS5 gene there are three major and eleven minor genotypes. HCV genotype matters because it can affect how successful a person's hepatitis C treatment will likely be and how long the hepatitis C medication will need to be taken. Hepatitis C is an infectious disease primarily affecting the liver, caused by the HCV. HCV is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact. In developed countries, it is estimated that 90% of persons with chronic HCV infection were infected through transfusion of unscreened blood or blood products or via injecting drug use or sexual exposure. The infection is often asymptomatic, but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis, which is generally apparent after many years. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure or other complications, including liver cancer or life-threatening esophageal varices and gastric varices. During the first 12 weeks after infection with HCV, most people suffer no symptoms. For those who do, the main manifestations of acute infection are generally mild and vague and rarely point to a specific diagnosis of hepatitis C. Symptoms of acute HCV infection include decreased appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, itching and flulike symptoms. HCV is usually detectable in the blood by PCR within one to three weeks after infection and antibodies to the virus are generally detectable within 3 to 15 weeks. Liver enzyme tests show variable ALT/ALS elevation. Periodically, they might show normal results. Usually, prothrombin and albumin results are normal, but may become abnormal, once cirrhosis has developed. The levels of elevation of liver tests do not correlate well with the amount of liver injury on biopsy. Viral genotype and viral load also do not correlate with the amount of liver injury. Liver biopsy is the best test to determine the amount of scarring and inflammation. The natural course of chronic hepatitis C varies considerably from one person to another. Although almost all people infected with HCV have evidence of inflammation on liver biopsy, the rate of progression of liver scarring (fibrosis) shows significant variability among individuals. Once chronic hepatitis C has progressed to cirrhosis, signs and symptoms may appear that are generally caused by either decreased liver function or increased pressure in the liver circulation, a condition known as portal hypertension. Possible signs and symptoms of liver cirrhosis include accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, bruising and bleeding tendency, varices (especially in the stomach and esophagus), jaundice and syndrome of cognitive impairment known as hepatic encephalo pathy (HE). HE is due to the accumulation of ammonia and other substances normally cleared by a healthy liver. AmpliSens® HCV-FRT PCR kit is an in vitro nucleic acid amplification test for qualitative detection of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA in the biological materials (blood plasma) using real-time hybridization-fluorescence detection.
|Only available in selected countries.
|PCR and Real-Time PCR Diagnostics
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