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HCV Rna Qualitative, Reflex To Quantitative (Viral Load)- Real Time Pcr

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    Age group

    Above 10 years

    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:

    • Qualitative testing
    • Quantitative testing

    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:

    • In qualitative testing: Detected or Undetected
    • In quantitative testing: Number in IU/ml

    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:

    • Less than 15 IU/ml: The hepatitis C virus is present, but you might need to test again
    • Less than 8,00,000 IU/ml: Low viral load
    • Greater than 8,00,000 IU/ml: High viral load
    • Over 100,000,000 IU/ml: Active infection

    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

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    faqFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Frequently asked questions

    A PCR test identifies genetic material from a virus. This test is also helpful in detecting fragments of a specific virus even after the end of the infection.
    Due to advancements in medical science, HCV infection is curable with oral medications. Still, it is vital to choose a reliable HCV RNA PCR test provider to determine the presence of infection. In some cases, the symptoms of this infection can go unnoticed. Hence, complications can arise if you fail to do a routine check-up.
    If you have an acute hepatitis C virus infection, you may notice abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, and fever. In some cases, you can also face issues like dark urine, loss of appetite, itchy skin, or jaundice. Contact your medical physician as soon as you observe such symptoms. A quick diagnosis through HCV real time PCR testing can help with timely treatment.
    The extent of HCV infection can always lead to variations in the duration of liver damage. Nevertheless, you can expect around 20 years to notice liver scarring. Your doctor can also recommend an HCV RNA PCR test without any delay to initiate treatment.
    If the nucleic acid test (NAT) result of HCV RNA is negative, it implies that you had an HCV infection. However, the virus is absent from your body at the time of testing.
    HCV spreads when infected blood enters your bloodstream in different ways. Sharing needles and having blood-to-blood contact with people can lead to hepatitis C virus infection.

    Why should Apollo be your preferred healthcare partner?

    • 40 Years of legacy and credibility in the healthcare industry.
    • NABL certified multi-channel digital healthcare platform.
    • Affordable diagnostic solutions with timely and accurate test results.
    • Up to 60% discount on Doorstep Diagnostic Tests, Home Sample Collection.
    • An inventory of over 100+ laboratories, spread across the country, operating out of 120+ cities with 1200+ collection centers, serving over 1800+ pin codes.

    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