screened for the illness.
Research has found that rapid tests and
point-of-care for hepatitis C are just as reliable as the ones in the laboratory.
Led by the Research Institute
of the McGill University Health Centre, the results show that these new tests
are highly accurate and have a rapid turn-around time.
will change screening techniques and eventually help to manage the hepatitis C
The research is published in the current issue of the Annals of Internal
Dr Nitika Pant Pai, assistant professor in the Department of
Medicine at McGill University explained that the new techniques in oral fluids
and blood ranged in 97 to 99 percent
Conventional laboratory testing is currently only available
only to people who visit specialised hospitals and community clinics. They
typically have symptomatology or a risk profile that calls for
Usually these results are made available within a week,
however they will only be told during their following visit, which could be one
to three months later.
Delays such as these might encourage a reduction
in patient follow-up and likely affect the rate of transmission within the
The new tests offer an alternative to the standard techniques
and procedures. They are effective, informative and convenient for clinical
decision-making, explained Dr Pant Pai.
Providing results within 30 minutes and at most within one working day, the
new tests usually don’t need specialised equipment. Many do not even need
electricity, added Sushmita Shivkumar, lead author of the study and a medical
student at McGill University.
“These tests have the potential to be game changers on a global scale. It is
now time to optimise their potential by integrating them in routine practice
settings," concluded the doctor.
Posted by Ben Evans