APES Hospital Poniente, Spain.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections pose major public health problems because of their prevalence worldwide. Consequently, screening for these infections is an important part of routine laboratory activity. Serological and molecular markers are key elements in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment monitoring for HBV and HCV infections. Today, automated chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA) analyzers are widely used for virological diagnosis, particularly in high-volume clinical laboratories. Molecular biology techniques are routinely used to detect and quantify viral genomes as well as to analyze their sequence; in order to determine their genotype and detect resistance to antiviral drugs. Real-time PCR, which provides high sensitivity and a broad dynamic range, has gradually replaced other signal and target ampliﬁcation technologies for the quantification and detection of nucleic acid. The next-generation DNA sequencing techniques are still restricted to research laboratories.The serological and molecular marker methods available for HBV and HCV are discussed in this article, along with their utility and limitations for use in Chronic Hepatitis B (CHB) diagnosis and monitoring.