Hepatitis C virus transmits quite easily by means of injection medication use most especially when people share sharp needles. There is a debate in the literature over whether or not it is able to spread due to sexual contact, but the common consensus is the fact that sexual transmission is not a formidable method of transmission. There is absolutely no doubt, however, that heavy or recurring percutaneous subjection to contaminated blood is regarded as the powerful way of hepatitis C transmission.

About 85% of acute hepatitis C conditions, and also occurrences of chronic infection, are asymptomatic. In situations where there are signs or symptoms, they are usually non-specific. For that reason, many cases of HCV infection are underdiagnosed since the clinical diagnosis of HCV is practically unachievable.

Acute HCV infection cases can be hard to identify attributable to the holdup in the creation of antibodies. Even in circumstances of symptomatic acute hepatitis C, anti-HCV antibodies can be determined in around half of affected individuals. Otherwise, anti-HCV can only be identified in the serum after three to six weeks. In a number of patients, seroconversion usually takes approximately three months, making serodiagnosis of HCV infection challenging.

Molecular tests

Molecular assays for diagnostic testing of HCV are utilized to uncover HCV RNA which is often identified one to three weeks following contact. Qualitative tests find whether or not HCV RNA is found in the serum. Quantitative tests estimate the quantity of HCV virus or viral load that exists. HCV RNA is determined by a couple of major methods, signal amplification, and target amplification.

Serologic tests

Serologic tests utilized in the medical diagnosis of HCV detect antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV). Anti-HCV antibodies are generally found in the serum or plasma by means of a third generation enzyme-linked immunoassay (EIA). The EIA identifies antibodies against various HCV antigens like Non-Structural 3 (NS3), HCV core, NS5 antigens, and NS4.
Once anti-HCV is found in great titer in the serum, in most cases an EIA ratio above nine, subjection to HCV is pointed out but is not going to make a distinction between chronic, resolved infection, and acute.

Existing EIAs locate antibodies around 7 to 8 weeks following infection and have a level of sensitivity and specificity of 99%. False positives take place among low-risk groups, while false negatives can happen in immuno-compromised patients.

RIBA test

One more antibody test is called the Recombinant Immunoblot Assay (RIBA), initially designed as a supplementary assay to verify EIA results. These days, due to the specificity of current EIA tests is incredibly high, and because of the prevalent usage of nucleic acid testing, the function of RIBA testing in the medical diagnosis of HCV has almost vanished.