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Safer Blood Supply for Transfusion: Which Algorithm Should Be Used to Determine Occult Hepatitis B Infection in Blood Donors? by Rukiye Berkem, Ayşe E. Karakoç

Background: Transfusion-transmitted hepatitis B virus continues to be a problem despite its significantly reduced prevalence. In this study, in addition to screening for the presence of HBsAg in donors’ blood, anti-HBc and anti-HBs markers were investigated using the chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA) method, and real-time PCR was used to detect HBV DNA.
Methods: The study’s material involved serum samples of 4,073 blood donors. HBsAg, anti-HBs, anti-HBc tests were undertaken using the CLIA method, and HBV DNA’s presence was investigated using the real-time PCR method.
Results: HBsAg and anti-HBc tests were negative in 3,331 (81.78%) and positive in 37 (0.90%). For the remaining 705 (17.30%), HBsAg was negative and anti-HBc was positive. According to the results of the anti-HBs test for these samples, HBsAg negativity and anti-HBc and anti-HBs positivity were found in 619 samples (15.19%), while 86 samples (2.11%) were negative for HBsAg and anti-HBs but positive for anti-HBc (isolated anti-HBc positivity). ID-HBV DNA real-time PCR tests were performed on 86 samples. None of the samples was positive for HBV DNA.
Conclusions: Recommended tests for screening occult HBV infection include anti-HBc, anti-HBs, and/or HBV DNA. Anti-HBc screening may result in loss of donors and blood products, particularly in countries with moderate endemicity of HBV, such as Turkey.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2018.180920