Background: Novel serological markers for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection are needed for prognosis and guidance of therapy. Objective: We evaluated the diagnostic performance of the Fujirebio Lumipulse G HBcrAg immunoassay on the Fujirebio LUMIPULSE G1200 analyzer. Study design: Analytical performance was examined using three HBeAg positive HBV samples. Diagnostic specificity was assessed using subpanels of 54 confirmed acute HAV, HCV, HEV, B19, CMV and EBV infections. Diagnostic sensitivity was investigated in well-defined HBV positive patient groups, both treated and untreated, including immunocompromised patients. Results: The Lumipulse G HBcrAg immunoassay provided a linear measurement at a dilution between 1:100 and1:10,000. Six out of 54 samples showed non-specific reactivity in sera from acute CMV, EBV and HEV infections, of which 2 of them > 3 log U/ml. The highest levels of HBcrAg were measured in HBeAg positive patients, in both treated and untreated as well as in immunocompromised patients. Untreated patients had relatively low serum HBcrAg levels in the inactive carrier phase, which increased upon progression into the HBeAg-negative hepatitis phase. Also, we showed that the applicability of HBcrAg to distinguish between patients with resolved HBV infection and false-positive reactivity to solitary anti-HBc is limited. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated significant differences in HBcrAg levels depending on HBeAg status, the clinical phase, as well as the treatment status. Specificity of the assay is good; only 2 out of 54 samples showed reactivity above 3 log U/ml. Before implementing the assay in clinical practice, additional research in larger patient cohorts should be carried out.

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Keywords Hepatitis B core related antigen, Diagnostics, Serological marker, Sensitivity and specificity, Hepatitis B virus
Persistent URL,
Series VSNU Open Access deal
Journal Journal of Clinical Virology
van Halewijn, G.J., GeurtsvanKessel, C.H., Klaasse, J, van Oord, G.W, de Knegt, R.J, van Campenhout, M.J., … Eijck, A.A. (2019). Diagnostic and analytical performance of the hepatitis B core related antigen immunoassay in hepatitis B patients. Journal of Clinical Virology, 114, 1–5. doi:10.1016/j.jcv.2019.03.003