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Hepatitis C is a condition in which the virus causes scarring in the liver, leading to its eventual failure. Early detection of this infection is crucial to prevent liver damage and severe infection.
The HCV RNA Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test determines the presence of the hepatitis C virus in your bloodstream. The blood test also detects the amount of virus, known as ‘viral load.’ Health experts carry this PCR test in two ways:
The HCV real time PCR testing can confirm the presence of the hepatitis C virus even before you develop the symptoms. For this purpose, the qualitative approach plays a major role.
However, the qualitative HCV RNA PCR test does not detect the number of viral particles in your bloodstream. To measure the viral load, quantitative testing proves crucial. The unit for measurement of viral load is international units per millimetre. (IU/ml)
The real time PCR test provides the following results:
Note: The HCV RNA PCR test qualitative result can be positive even if you have a significantly low viral load.
After evaluating both results, the doctor can require a biopsy or tissue sample to gauge the severity of the infection. Treatment will mainly focus on reducing the viral load depending on these results.
The HCV RNA PCR testing requires you to provide your blood sample. As per recommendations, you might require to fast before giving the sample. It is normal to feel uncomfortable before the testing. However, the PCR test is similar to other tests in which the healthcare provider uses a needle to draw blood.
Thereafter, the doctor determines viral load based on quantitative HCV RNA testing results. Here are the ranges of the evaluation:
These numbers are vital to formulating a treatment plan for reducing the viral load. You might also need to repeat the HCV real time PCR test during active treatment. Such a diagnosis helps create a timely report of the infection’s severity.
The HCV RNA test results also help plan an effective treatment to achieve sustained virologic response (SVR). This condition implies that the hepatitis C virus is absent from the system for a period of over 12 weeks.
Hence, constant monitoring before and during the treatment is essential. Additionally, a negative HCV real time PCR testing result signifies the absence of infection. So, this medical examination is pivotal in treating this fatal disease.
You can opt for the HCV RNA (PCR) test at Apollo 24|7!
Medically reviewed by Dr.Porselvi Rajin, Gastroenterologists from Apollo Hospitals Greams Road,Chennai
Why should Apollo be your preferred healthcare partner?
The information mentioned above is meant for educational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute to your Physician’s advice. It is highly recommended that the customer consults with a qualified healthcare professional to interpret test results