Progress towards faster HCV diagnosis in Cameroon

In a study supported by the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (Link), a group of Cameroonian and French researchers have determined that HCV core antigen quantification could replace the current two-step HCV diagnostic approach in low income countries. Standard HCV diagnosis involves a two step process: screening for anti-HCV antibodies, followed by nucleic acid tests to confirm viral replication which indicates chronic infection. Observations from clinical centers, however, show that the high cost of testing and the need for specialized equipment makes this an impractical option for a country such as Cameroon with underdeveloped healthcare infrastructure. This has implications for health outcomes, according to the authors, because most patients are diagnosed at late stages of disease evolution, with an increased risk of mortality. Their belief is that by simplifying the diagnostic procedure, access to care can be scaled up.

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