Diagnostic Test Directory

Virology Laboratory

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) core antibody (total) - serum or plasma specimen

  • Synonyms: anti-HBc Total, Hepatitis B Virus Core Total Antibody
  • LIS Mnemonic: HBVTCORE


    PREFERRED: Serum is the preferred specimen. Collect blood in a 4 ml Gold Serum Separator Tube-Clot Activator & Gel. REMARK: Plasma is an acceptable alternative specimen. Blood can be collected in

    Volume Required

    4 ml of blood

    Minimum Required

    2 ml of blood


    A total of 2-4 ml of blood (for every 2-3 Hepatitis and HIV tests ordered) should be collected. For the CHOP enterprise, submit blood specimens as soon as possible at room temperature to Central Laboratory Services. For outside clients, it is recommended that serum or plasma specimens be removed from the clot, red blood cells, or separator gel as soon as possible after collection and before shipping specimens. When shipping serum or plasma specimens, package and label specimens in complian


    Serum or plasma specimens should be stored for no longer than 3 days at room temperature or 7 days at 2-8C following specimen collection and separation from clot, red blood cells, or separator gel. If

    Unacceptable conditions

    Do not use serum or plasma specimens that are heat-inactivated, pooled, grossly hemolyzed, or contain obvious microbial contamination. Performance has not been established for the use of cadeveric specimens or the use of boody fluids other than human serum or plasma.

    Specimen Handling

    Unprocessed blood specimens should routinely be refrigerated at 4C upon arrival in the laboratory. O

Days Performed

Monday thru Friday






Chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay

Disease Information


This assay measures total antibody (IgG + IgM) responses to Hepatitis B virus (HBV) core antigen. The presence of HBc total antibody indicates acute or chronic infection. Total antibody to HBV core antigen (anti-HBc Total) develops within 1-4 weeks of the appearance of HBsAg, rapidly rises to high levels, and is detectable for the remainder of a patient's life. Following the loss of HBV core IgM antibody during acute HBV infection, the total anti-HBc response primarily consists of IgG anti-HBc. Isolated positive results for total anti-HBc with negative results for HBsAg and anti-HBs antibody may indicate (1) a false-positive reaction in the serologic assay for total anti-HBc, (2) passive transfer of total anti-HBc antibody, (3) chronic infection without detectable HBsAg as a result of the development of viral mutant and the subsequent production of undectable levels of antigen in serum, (4) suppression of HBsAg production following HDV superinfection, and (5) acute infection involving the core window" period between the decline of detectable HBsAg and the subsequent rise in anti-HBs antibody. Low levels of total anti-HBc antibody usually represent nonspecific reactions and account for a large number of the isolated total anti-HBc positive results.


The presence of HBV core total antibody is indicative of either a past or present infection with hepatitis B virus. If you suspect an acute HBV infec

Reference Values

Negative or nonreactive for hepatitis B virus (HBV) core total antibody (IgG & IgM)

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