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Hepatitis C virus RNA quantitation and degradation studies in whole blood samples in vitro
  1. J Watson1,
  2. S Graves2,
  3. J Ferguson3,
  4. C D’Este4,
  5. R Batey5
  1. 1John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia;Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia;Barwon Health Service, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia;Hunter Area Pathology Service, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia;Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia; Hunter Area Pathology Service, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4Faculty of Health, Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  5. 5John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia;Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia;Drug and Alcohol Services, Hunter New England Health Service, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr J Watson
    Barwon Health Service, 16 Park Street, Geelong, Vic 3220, Australia; tingewik{at}bigpond.net.au

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) qualitative and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have evolved from specialist research tools into tests that are widely used in routine clinical practice. Clinical therapeutic decisions are based on HCV RNA titre; hence if the result is inaccurate, patients may be given, or alternatively denied, treatment inappropriately. Little data exist on the effect of environmental conditions on HCV RNA titre after blood has been taken from the patient.1–3

We therefore decided to evaluate the variation in HCV RNA titre after whole blood samples were taken from patients, to determine whether time at room temperature, temperature variation and blood collection systems affect the result obtained by the clinician.

Patients were recruited to the study from the liver clinic at the John Hunter Hospital …

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