López-López, P.; Frías, M.; Pérez-Jiménez, A. B.; et al. "Optimization of the molecular diagnosis of the acute hepatitis E virus infection". Microbial Biotechnology. 16 (6), 2023, 1325 - 1332
To evaluate the diagnostic value of the combination of two broad-range PCR assays targeting two different and conserved regions of the viral genome for the diagnosis of acute Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection. Patients with acute hepatitis were prospectively recruited. In all, HEV-IgM antibodies were tested together with evaluation of HEV viraemia by two PCR assays (ORF3 and ORF1). The number of individuals exhibiting negative IgM antibody results but carrying viral RNA was calculated by each PCR assay. Four-hundred and seventy individuals were included, of whom 145 (30.8%) were diagnosed as having acute HEV. Of them, 122 (84.1%) exhibited HEV-IgM antibodies, and 81 (55.8%) had detectable viral RNA for at least one PCR. Using the ORF3 molecular assay, 70 (48.3%) individuals were identified with HEV infection. When the ORF1 molecular assay was applied, 49 (33.8%) individuals were identified. The ORF3 assay detected viral RNA in 32 patients not detected by the ORF1 assay. In contrast, the ORF1 assay could amplify viral RNA in 11 patients who were not detected by the ORF3 assay. The parallel use of two broad-range PCR assays significantly increased the performance of the molecular diagnosis of HEV.