Point of Care HCV Testing
Point of care (POC) devices are test devices that can be performed at the location of the patient. They are meant to be easy to use, require little specimen, and have results in a short period of time. The oral (saliva HCV) test mentioned on the previous page would be an example of a POC test. A POC HCV virus test that uses whole blood to assess viremia would also be useful. Such tests are in development.
In order to avoid the need for confirming viremic infection with NAAT, once the HCV IgG assay is reactive, an HCV core antigen (HCVcAg) assay is being developed. HCVcAg would be comparable to HCV RNA confirmation in that it would directly assess the presence of the virus (not the antibody to the virus). The devices being proposed would correlate with HCV RNA cutoff levels and thus could serve as tests of cure in patients who were antibody positive but unsure if they had cleared the virus. A POC HCVcAg assay would be useful in areas where NAAT is not available. This would mean reduction in costs and turnaround times.