A rapid immunochromatographic assay for hepatitis B virus screening

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SUMMARY.Simple, rapid and accurate assays for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) are helpful for clinical diagnosis and field epidemiological surveys. A commercially developed, rapid immunochromatographic test for simultaneous detection of HBsAg and HBeAg was evaluated using a total of 2463 selected samples (827 frozen sera, 1011 fresh sera, and 625 whole blood samples). Results of the rapid test were compared with standard enzyme immunoassay (EIA) methods for HBsAg and HBeAg detection. The accuracy of the rapid test was excellent and was similar for frozen sera, fresh sera and whole blood. The overall sensitivity and specificity for the detection of HBsAg were 95 and 100%, and the corresponding positive and negative predictive values were 100 and 99.7%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity for the detection of HBeAg were slightly less than that for HBsAg, and were 80 and 98%, with positive and negative predictive values of 91 and 94%, respectively. Thus, compared with the EIA method, the rapid test was highly sensitive and accurate for the detection of HBsAg although somewhat less sensitive and specific for detection of HBeAg. Because of its speed, simplicity and flexibility, the rapid test is ideally suited for HBsAg and HBeAg screening in population-based epidemiological studies and in low risk populations, particularly in regions of the world where hepatitis B is endemic.

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