Diagnostic Test Directory

Virology Laboratory

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) RNA qualitative assay - plasma or serum specimen

  • Synonyms: HCV RNA, HCV RNA Qualitative Assay, Hepatitis C Virus Molecular Amplification
  • LIS Mnemonic: HCVMA


    PREFERRED: PLASMA is the preferred specimen and Plasma Preparation Tubes (PPT with K2EDTA) are the preferred collection tubes. Other collection tubes containing K2EDTA, sodium heparin, sodium citrate

    Volume Required

    4-6 ml; tube should be completely filled, if possible

    Minimum Required

    4-6 ml; tube should be completely filled, if possible


    Unprocessed blood specimens should be refrigerated at 4°C (2-8°C) shortly after collection and during transport to the laboratory, and should not be held at room temperature for longer than necessary. Liver tissue should be immediately placed in viral transport medium and transported at 4°C (2-8°C).


    Unprocessed whole blood is stable at room temperature (up to 25°C) for up to 24 hours after blood draw. Processed plasma or serum are stable at 4°C (2-8°C) for up to 48 hours.

    Unacceptable conditions

    Specimens collected in inappropriate blood draw tubes and specimens that are not transported correctly.

Days Performed

Monday thru Friday


Same day

Reflex Testing

Hepatitis C antibody performed on initial requests for Hepatitis C RNA qualitative assay


87521 (Hepatitis C RNA),86803 (Hepatitis C Antibody)


The Gen-Probe APTIMA HCV RNA Qualitative Assay uses transcription-mediated amplification (TMA) to replicate highly conserved regions of the 5'-untranslated region of the RNA genome.

Disease Information


HCV RNA is a direct marker for viral replication and infectivity; HCV RNA PCR is recommended to detect HCV infection in seronegative individuals and to discriminate chronic from resolved acute infection in patients who are positive for HCV antibody. Quantitative measure of RNA provides useful information about prognosis, transmission and response to therapy.


If positive, results are reported as hepatitis C virus RNA detected.

Reference Values

Negative or no hepatitis C virus RNA detected

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