Diagnostic performance of the HCV core Antigen test to identify hepatitis C in HIV-infected patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis


The standard algorithm for diagnosing hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has two steps, an HCV antibody test for screening and a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) for confirmation. However, the HCV core antigen (HCVcAg) detection assay is an alternative for one-step diagnosis. We aimed to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the Abbott ARCHITECT HCV Ag assay to detect active hepatitis C in serum/plasma in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), through a systematic review and meta-analysis. PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library were searched until 20 September 2022 (PROSPERO, CRD42022348351). We included studies evaluating Abbott ARCHITECT HCV Ag assay (index assay) versus NAATs (reference test) in PLWHA coinfected with HCV who did not receive antiviral treatment for HCV. Meta-analysis was performed with the MIDAS module using Stata and random-effects models. The QUADAS-2 tool evaluated the risk of bias. The bivariate analysis was conducted on 11 studies with 2,407 samples. Pooled sensitivity was 0.95 (95% CI=0.92 to 0.97), specificity 0.97 (95% CI=0.93 to 0.99), positive likelihood ratio 37.76 (95% CI=12.84 to 111.02), and negative likelihood ratio 0.06 (95% CI=0.04 to 0.09). The area under the curve was 0.97 (95% CI=0.20 to 1.00). For low prevalence (≤5%), the posttest probability that an individual with a positive test was a true positive ranged from 4% to 67%, whereas, at high prevalence (≥10%), the posttest probability was between 81% and 87%, indicating that a confirmatory test should be necessary, particularly with prevalence values of ≤1%. Regardless of prevalence, the probability that an individual with a negative test was a false negative was close to zero, indicating that the individual was not infected with HCV. In conclusion, the accuracy of the Abbott ARCHITECT HCV Ag assay was very good for HCV screening in serum/plasma samples from PLWHA. The clinical utility to confirm HCV infection was acceptable in high-prevalence settings (≥10%) but poor in low-prevalence settings (≤1%). Furthermore, it was excellent in excluding active HCV infection.


Sepúlveda-Crespo D, Treviño-Nakoura A, Bellon JM, Jiménez-Sousa MA, Ryan P, Martínez I, Fernández-Rodríguez A, Resino S




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Testing
    • Testing
  • Co-infections
    • Hepatitis B, C
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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