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Thanks for the interest generated in the article published in MJAFI. The aim of the study was to screen blood donors for anti-HBc IgM for detection of HBV infection in the window period of infection when the donor may be HBsAg negative. In blood donors we are more interested in acute HBV infection than the carrier state, which can be easily detected by screening blood donors for HBsAg and anti-HBc IgM. In early cases of infection where the individual may be negative for these markers, then nucleic acid technology (NAT) for screening for HBV DNA can be useful.
In our study, we have highlighted the limitations of screening the donors for anti-HBc (total), as the positivity rate varies from 17 − 29%, whereas, the positivity rate for anti-HBc IgM is only 0.39% in HBsAg negative donors. Screening of blood for anti-HBc total is practical in the western countries as the incidence of HBsAg and anti-HBc is low in these countries. Whereas, in our country the incidence of HBsAg is high. It is therefore recommended that all blood units should be tested for anti-HBc IgM alongwith HBsAg to check the infectivity status of blood donors in the window period.