The Xpert® Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Viral Load (VL) Fingerstick (Cepheid, Sunnyvale, CA) point-of-care test can detect active infection accurately from 100 µL of capillary whole blood in 1 hour, allowing for single-visit HCV diagnoses, according to an observational cohort study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.1

Current HCV testing involves a 2-step diagnostic pathway requiring multiple visits to a practitioner and off-site phlebotomists.2-7 Point-of-care HCV testing has been shown to increase testing and care.8-12

Researchers in Australia evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of a redesigned prototype Xpert HCV VL fingerstick assay for HCV RNA detection (fingerstick) and the Xpert HCV VL assay (plasma) compared with the Abbott RealTime HCV VL (Abbott Laboratories, Des Plaines, IL) assay by venous puncture in 223 participants enrolled at drug treatment clinics and homeless services.1

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The researchers found that the sensitivity and specificity of the Xpert HCV VL assay (plasma) for HCV RNA quantification in samples collected by venepuncture were 100%. Likewise, the sensitivity and specificity of the Xpert HCV VL fingerstick assay for HCV RNA quantification in samples collected by fingerstick were also 100%.

Therefore, the fingerstick assay provides a substantial advantage over the plasma assay by avoiding the need for plasma separation and enables testing and diagnosis in 1 hour compared with 2 hours.

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In the first study of its kind, the authors concluded that, “This study demonstrated 100% sensitivity and specificity of the Xpert® HCV VL fingerstick test compared with the Abbott RealTime HCV VL assay. This assay can detect active infection from a fingerstick sample in 1 hour, allowing single-visit HCV diagnosis.”1

Disclosure: This research was partially funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme, Australia. Please see original reference for full list of authors’ disclosures.


  1. Lamoury FMJ, Bajis S, Hajarizadeh B, et al. Evaluation of the Xpert® HCV viral load fingerstick point-of-care assay [published online March 9, 2018]. J Infect Dis. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiy114
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