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Virology and Diagnosis of the Hepatitis C Virus

Richter, M.K.S. (2009) Virology and Diagnosis of the Hepatitis C Virus. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Worldwide, approximately 170 million people are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which gives a global prevalence of about 3%. HCV is a blood borne pathogen build up from a genetically variable RNA genome, a nucleocapsid and an envelope that contains glycoproteins required for attachment and entry to host cells, which are mainly hepatocytes. HCV can be classified into six genotypes which can be further divided in subtypes. The natural history and response to treatment varies between the different genotypes and subtypes. Chronic HCV infections are identified as the major cause for chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and liver transplantation. The majority of HCV infections remain asymptomatic for many years, which leads to spread of the virus and late treatment. The predominant mode of transmission in many Western countries is injecting drug abuse. The detection of hepatitis C or anti-HCV antibodies is important for both the first diagnosis and the monitoring of the treatment. Conventional serological tests include anti-HCV antibody and HCV antigen tests. If genotype-specific HCV epitopes are used for the immunoassay, this technique can also be used to determine the HCV genotype. Another serological marker than anti-HCV antibodies is the HCV core protein. The molecular techniques consist from several methods of Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT) and genotype testing. NATs include qualitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and transcription-mediated amplification (TMA), which are used for detection; and branched-chain DNA (bDNA) amplification, quantitative RT-PCR and Real-Time RT-PCR, which are used for quantification. The usage of NATs is currently the preferred method to confirm a HCV infection. However, serological tests are still used mainly in developing countries because of the relative low costs compared to molecular techniques. The current available HCV tests show a high sensitivity and specificity.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:28
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:28

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