Test Detail
Overview
Interpreting Results
FAQ's

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Written by
Dr. Shreya Gupta
BDS, MDS - Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
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MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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Hepatitis B Virus - Viral Load, Quantitative

(HBV Quant.)
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Hepatitis B Virus - Viral Load, Quantitative
You need to provide
Blood
This test is for
Male, Female
Test Preparation
  1. No special preparation required

Overview


What is HBV Quant.?

The Hepatitis B Virus - Viral Load, Quantitative test is advised in case of signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis such as loss of appetite, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.






Why is HBV Quant. done?

The Hepatitis B Virus - Viral Load, Quantitative test is done:

  1. For the management of patients with chronic hepatitis B infection and currently on antiviral therapy

  2. For the diagnosis of hepatitis B for baseline values and during the course of therapy to assess the response of treatment.


What does HBV Quant. Measure?

The Hepatitis B Virus - Viral Load, Quantitative test measures the actual amount of hepatitis B present in a blood sample. This test helps determine whether Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is getting reproduced in the liver. If HBV viral load is greater than 20,000 international units per milliliter (IU/mL) in a person with detectable Hepatitis B envelope antigen (HBeAg) then it indicates that the virus is active and has the greatest potential to cause damage to the liver. Similarly, if HBV viral load is greater than 2,000 IU/mL in HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B patients then it indicates that the virus is active and has the potential to cause damage to the liver. If the HBV viral load is above these numbers, treatment is considered necessary. 


Interpreting HBV Quant. results


Interpretations


RESULT in IU/mL

REMARKS

Target not detected

Sample provided does not contain HBV DNA

<20

HBV DNA detected, but below the lower limit of linear range of the assay. These results should be interpreted with caution

>=20 to < 1.7 x 108

HBV DNA detected within the linear range of the assay

>=1.7 x 108

HBV DNA detected above the linear range of the assay


  1. Linear reporting range of the assay is 20 - 1.7 x 108 IU/mL 

  2. Conversion factor: 1 IU/mL = 5.82 copies / mL

 

Results are categorized into 3 levels

  • Low or undetectable viral load means that the lab equipment cannot detect it and viral load is less than approximately 300 copies/mL

  • Moderate levels are about 10,000 – 90,000 copies/mL

  • High levels indicate quantities over 100,000 copies/mL, which is considered clinically significant


Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about HBV Quant.


Frequently Asked Questions about Hepatitis B Virus - Viral Load, Quantitative

Q. How is Hepatitis B virus transmitted?
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is a member of the Hepadnavirus family. It is transmitted primarily by body fluids, especially serum. It can also be transmitted by sexual transmission or from mother to baby. Majority of the infected individuals recover completely. Whereas, around 1-2% have persistent viral replication leading to chronic hepatitis. The frequency of developing a chronic HBV infection in immunocompromised patients is around 5-10% while in neonates it reaches 80%.
Q. Why is it important to measure Hepatitis B Virus - Viral Load during the treatment of HBV infection?
HBV DNA is measured to check if the drug is working to reduce the body’s viral load. Antiviral medicines work by altering the DNA of the virus so that it cannot reproduce effectively. Doctors measure the viral load to make sure the antiviral is working.
Q. Why is measuring viral load important in case of pregnancy?
The pregnant women are screened for hepatitis B, along with the measurement of viral load. Pregnant women with high viral loads—exceeding 200,000 IU/mL—are recommended to take antiviral therapy during their third trimester of pregnancy according to medical guidelines. This is done to reduce the risk of infecting their newborns. Babies born to HBV-infected women can become infected even if they are immunized at birth and treated with HBIG (hepatitis B antibodies) if their mothers have high viral loads.
Q. How is the blood sample taken?
The healthcare provider takes a blood sample from the arm. The site from where the blood is to be withdrawn is cleaned with a swab of rubbing alcohol. This is then followed by inserting a small needle which has a tube attached to it for collecting blood. Once the sufficient blood for analysis is withdrawn, the needle is removed. The site is then covered with a gauze pad.
Q. Is there any risk associated with the withdrawal of blood sample procedure?
As such there is no risk but in few cases, bruising, bleeding, and infection at the puncture site can be seen. In very few cases, there can be swelling of the vein after the blood is withdrawn.
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