Evaluation of the Aptima HBV Quant assay vs. the COBAS TaqMan HBV test using the high pure system for the quantitation of HBV DNA in plasma and serum samples

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Background:Proper management of patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection requires monitoring of plasma or serum HBV DNA levels using a highly sensitive nucleic acid amplification test. Because commercially available assays differ in performance, we compared herein the performance of the Hologic Aptima HBV Quant assay (Aptima) to that of the Roche Cobas TaqMan HBV test for use with the high pure system (HPS/CTM).Methods:Assay performance was assessed using HBV reference panels as well as plasma and serum samples from chronically HBV-infected patients. Method correlation, analytical sensitivity, precision/reproducibility, linearity, bias and influence of genotype were evaluated. Data analysis was performed using linear regression, Deming correlation analysis and Bland-Altman analysis.Results:Agreement between the assays for the two reference panels was good, with a difference in assay values vs. target <0.5 log. Qualitative assay results for 159 clinical samples showed good concordance (88.1%; κ=0.75; 95% confidence interval: 0.651-0.845). For the 106 samples quantitated by both assays, viral load results were highly correlated (R=0.92) and differed on average by 0.09 log, with 95.3% of the samples being within the 95% limit of agreement of the assays. Linearity for viral loads 1-7 log was excellent for both assays (R2>0.98). The two assays had similar bias and precision across the different genotypes tested at low viral loads (25-1000 IU/mL).Conclusions:Aptima has a performance comparable with that of HPS/CTM, making it suitable for use for HBV infection monitoring. Aptima runs on a fully automated platform (the Panther system) and therefore offers a significantly improved workflow compared with HPS/CTM.

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