Significance of anti-HBc screening of blood donors & its association with occult hepatitis B virus infection: Implications for blood transfusion

Mohammad Asim, Riyasat Ali, Luqman A. Khan, S. A. Husain, Rajiv Singla, P. Kar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background & objective: Expansions of blood donor screening and improved laboratory detection of viral markers have remarkably reduced the risk for infection with transfusion-transmitted viruses. This study was aimed to evaluate the presence of anti-HBc and to determine the presence or absence of HBV DNA in the serum samples from HBsAg negative, anti-HBc positive blood donors in a tertiary care hospital blood bank from Delhi. Methods: A total of 2175 HBsAg negative, first time volunteer blood donors were included in the study from blood bank, Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi. The blood specimens from all these subjects were evaluated for anti-HBV-core antigen (anti-HBc) serology, anti-HBV-surface antigen (anti-HBs) titres and HBeAg. The presence of HBV DNA was evaluated by testing, through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques. Results: Of the 2175 HBsAg negative voluntary blood donors, 413 (19.8%) were tested to be positive for anti-HBc alone. Of these, 153 (group-I) were anti-HBs negative whereas group-II comprises a total of 260 anti-HBs positive cases i.e. 89 out of 413 had anti-HBs titres of 10-99 IU/l and the remaining 171 had anti-HBs titres of 100-500 IU/l. HBV DNA was detected in 7.5 per cent anti-HBc positive samples irrespective of anti-HBs status. Interpretation & conclusions: Our results showed that 18.9 per cent of our donor population was anti-HBc reactive, and hence inclusion of anti-HBc testing will lead to a high discard rate. The presence of HBV DNA in fairly high percentage of anti-HBc positive samples highlighted the need for a stringent and better screening system to prevent occult HBV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-317
Number of pages6
JournalIndian Journal of Medical Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti
  • HBc screening
  • HBs titres
  • Occult HBV infection
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Volunteer blood donors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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