Quest Diagnostics Streamlines Hepatitis C Test Menu to Help Save Lives

Jul 28, 2016 9:05 AM ET
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For the 3.5 million people infected with the hepatitis C virus in the United States, time is of the essence. Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in this country and, if not diagnosed and treated early enough, can cause liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death.

Yet most people don’t know they are infected because the disease may not manifest symptoms for decades, making early, accurate diagnoses crucial. And about 50% of people with positive screening results do not receive the followup confirmatory molecular testing they need to identify active infections so that treatment can start immediately1. The Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC) and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend molecular testing for all positive antibody screening tests.

To address this urgent need, Quest has modified its hepatitis C testing process to remove barriers to identifying active hepatitis C infections in a timely manner: It now automatically performs molecular testing on all patient specimens whose antibody screening results are positive.

“This change to Quest’s test offerings is medically responsible and appropriate. It closes a gap in current hepatitis C care by reducing the possibility a patient will undergo multiple office visits and blood draws or be inappropriately referred to specialists based on incomplete testing,” said Rick Pesano, MD, PhD, Vice President, Development, Science and Innovation.

Quest is a leader in hepatitis testing, with services that include genotyping, viral load, and antiviral resistance testing to aid diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring. We also collaborate with the CDC to identify trends in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of viral hepatitis (hepatitis A, B, C, and E) in the United States based on the national Quest Diagnostics Health TrendsTM database of de-identified clinical hepatitis test data.