Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is a small, enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus. HCV is now known to be the major cause of parenterally transmitted non-A, non-B hepatitis. Antibody to HCV is found in over 80% of patients with well-documented non-A, non-B hepatitis.
Conventional methods fail to isolate the virus in cell culture or visualize it by electron microscope. Cloning the viral genome has made it possible to develop serologic assays that use recombinant antigens.1, 2 Compared to the first generation HCV EIAs using single recombinant antigen, multiple antigens using recombinant protein and/or synthetic peptides have been added in new serologic tests to avoid nonspecific cross-reactivity and to increase the sensitivity of the HCV antibody tests.3,4
The HCV Rapid Test Dipstick (Serum/Plasma) is a rapid test to qualitatively detect the presence of antibody to HCV in a serum or plasma specimen. The test utilizes colloid gold conjugate and recombinant HCV proteins to selectively detect antibody to HCV in serum or plasma. The recombinant HCV proteins used in the test kit are encoded by the genes for both structural (nucleocapsid) and non-structural proteins.