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Development of a Molecular Platform for Detection of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) for Blood Donors Screening

Abstract

The transmission of infectious diseases by the transfusion of contaminated blood components has constantly decreased due to great advancements in molecular methods for diagnostic investigation. The Nucleic Acid Technologies (NAT) for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been recommended by the Brazilian law since 2002 (Ordinance n° 262/2002 of Ministry of Health). This technique allows to detect the presence of genetic material; DNA and viral RNA, in samples of blood donors before seroconversion, reducing then the immunological window and assuring more safety to the blood products designed for transfusions. In addition, the use of this test is important for clarifying undetermined reactions in serological screening tests. It is important to reinforce that there was a significant decrease in the residual risk of these infections after the use of NAT tests in blood banks worldwide. However, the current platform in use in the country does not cover the screening for the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which shows considerable prevalence in asymptomatic individuals, many times not reactive in serological tests. Thus, this project aims to develop and validate a NAT platform for HBV screening in blood donation candidates. This parameter is needed in order to complement the serological tests for HBV, aiming to reduce immunological window, contributing to an undeniable increase in transfusion safety. (AU)

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