Canada approves rapid hepatitis C antibody test
Health Canada has approved the sale and use of Orasure Technologies' OraQuick HCV rapid antibody test, which is a point-of-care test for screening patients for exposure to hepatitis C (HCV). The test, which has been approved in other wealthy countries, uses a drop of blood from a finger prick to test for HCV antibodies. It has more than 98% accuracy and results are available in only twenty minutes.
A positive result indicates that a person has been exposed to HCV, but does not reveal a person's current infection status. If a patient tests positive, they will be referred to a laboratory for tests that check the blood for HCV genetic material. The presence of the hepatitis C virus's genetic material indicates that HCV is being produces in the liver and that further treatment will be needed.
44% of people living with HCV in Canada are unaware of their status.
The OraQuick test will be available for sale to healthcare professionals and clinics in late February or early March. It is not for home use, but is well-suited to settings in which a rapid result is necessary, such as mobile testing units, hospitals, and clinics.
Each test costs $29.95, and must be ordered in multiples of 25.