Until lately, anti-HBc antibodies were considered an effective marker for occult Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and have served their role in improving blood safety. But, with the development of advanced tests for HBV DNA detection, the role of anti-HBc in this regard stands uncertain.
Materials and Methods:
Anti-HBc and HBsAg ELISA and ID-NAT tests were run in parallel on donor blood samples between April 1, 2006 and December 31, 2010 at the Department of Transfusion Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi. A positive ID-NAT was followed by Discriminatory NAT assay.
A total of 94 247 samples were tested with a total core positivity rate of 10.22%. We identified nearly 9.17% of donors who were reactive for anti-HBc and negative for HBsAg and HBV DNA. These are the donors who are potentially non-infectious and may be returned to the donor pool.
Although anti HBc testing has a definite role in improving blood safety, centers that have incorporated NAT testing may not derive any additional benefit by performing anti-HBc testing, especially in resource-limited countries like ours.