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HCV antibody screening of 624,910 blood donations resulted in 3,832 samples being referred for confirmation. All were tested by RIBA-3 with 2,710 negative, 945 indeterminate and 177 positive results. HCV RNA was detected by PCR in an average of 69.5% of RIBA-3 positives (4 bands 84.1%; 3 bands 74.1%; 2 bands 34.1%) and only 0.53% of RIBA-3 indeterminates. Eighty-four percent of samples with a total RIBA-3 band intensity score (maximum 16) of > or = 8 were PCR positive compared with only 22% of those with a score of < 8. Total mean band intensities for HCV genotype 1 samples (n = 65) were 13.2, genotype 2 (n = 17) 11.4 and genotype 3 (n = 65) 11.2 with type 1 samples showing greater reactivity with c100 and c33 antibodies. No PCR positive type 1 samples were found with RIBA-3 total band scores less than 8, no PCR positive type 2 samples less than 6, whilst PCR positive type 3 samples were found with scores as low as 2. NS5 indeterminates were the most common (40.2%) single band pattern but yielded no PCR positive samples, followed by c33 (23.3%) with one PCR positive and c100 (20.2%) with one PCR positive whilst c22 indeterminates were least common (16.3%) but included three PCR positive donors. All five RIBA-3 indeterminate PCR positive donors were type 3.

Original publication




Journal article


J Med Virol

Publication Date





132 - 136


Blood Donors, DNA, Viral, Genotype, Hepacivirus, Humans, Immunoblotting, Polymerase Chain Reaction