Hepatitis C viraemia in United Kingdom blood donors. A multicentre study

J A Garson, J P Clewley, P Simmonds, L Q Zhang, J Mori, C Ring, E A Follett, B C Dow, S Martin, H Gunson

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Of 10,633 blood donations tested in three regional blood transfusion centres with two commercial first generation screening assays for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus (HCV), 65 (0.61%) were found to be repeatedly reactive in one or both assays. Five of the 65 were confirmed positive by recombinant immunoblot assay (Ortho RIBA-2) and a further 4 were judged indeterminate. All 5 RIBA-2 positive donations and 1 of the 4 RIBA-2 indeterminates were shown to be viraemic by HCV-RNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays performed at three independent reference laboratories. The remaining 56 screen test reactive donations proved negative by RIBA-2 and, with 1 exception, negative by PCR. We conclude that while first generation anti-HCV screening assays generate a high proportion of false reactions when screening low prevalence populations, results of the RIBA-2 confirmatory test correlate well with PCR findings and thus indirectly with both hepatitis C viraemia and infectivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-23
Number of pages6
JournalVox Sanguinis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Base Sequence
  • Blood Donors
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Great Britain
  • Hepacivirus
  • Hepatitis Antibodies
  • Hepatitis C
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Mass Screening
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prevalence
  • RNA, Viral
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Viremia


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