Impact of hepatitis B virus genotypes and surface antigen variants on the performance of HBV real time PCR quantification.

Research paper by Vincent V Thibault, Syria S Laperche, Sepideh S Akhavan, Annabelle A Servant-Delmas, Dalila D Belkhiri, Anne-Marie AM Roque-Afonso

Indexed on: 02 May '09Published on: 02 May '09Published in: Journal of Virological Methods


Quantitative PCR assays used to monitor hepatitis B virus (HBV) load differ in their ability to detect different HBV variants. This study evaluated the performance of the Abbott RT PCR assay for quantitating DNA from different HBV genotypes and from HBV variants bearing HBsAg gene mutations. The study was performed on a randomly-selected sample with a viral load >6logIU/mL for each genotype and on 25 HBsAg variants. Each sample was assayed using the Abbott RT assay and with the Roche Cobas AmpliPrep-Cobas TaqMan as a reference method. All HBV genotypes were detected with the Abbott RT assay with an equivalent dynamic range (1-8logIU/mL). For each genotype, the data suggest that the assay was linear over the entire dilution range (r(2): 0.985-0.995). For the 25 HBsAg variants, viral titres determined with the two assays correlated well (r(2): 0.929). The mean difference between the two methods was -0.295 (95% CI: -0.520 to -0.071). The difference was lower than 1log unit in all but two cases. In conclusion, the Abbott RT assay can detect and quantify DNA from different HBV variants with equivalent performance and is thus suitable for routine monitoring of patients with chronic HBV infections.