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Health Agencies Update
December 28, 2011

Rapid Hepatitis C Test

JAMA. 2011;306(24):2661. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1869

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a waiver allowing the first rapid blood test for hepatitis C virus (HCV) to be distributed to and used at physician's offices, health departments, and other nonlaboratory sites.

More than 3 million US individuals are infected with HCV, and most are unaware of their infection status. Such individuals may unwittingly transmit the infection to others or may eventually develop serious complications from an untreated chronic infection, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. The rapid blood test, which was approved in June, can provide patients with a result in about 20 minutes, allowing clinicians to provide individuals with a result during an office visit.

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