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April 4, 1990

Ways to Assess Test Costs Vary

JAMA. 1990;263(13):1750-1751. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440130020004

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THE NEW TEST aimed at eliminating hepatitis C from the US blood supply is the seventh procedure that will be required to be performed on donated blood. At present, these assays include a serological test for syphilis; a test for hepatitis B surface antigen; two surrogate tests for non-A, non-B hepatitis, alanine aminotransferase and hepatitis B core antibody (the latter also detects hepatitis B); an immunoassay test for antibody to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1); and a test for antibody to human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1. In some circumstances and in some communities, blood is also tested for antibody to cytomegalovirus. The Food and Drug Administration is also considering adding to this list two new tests: one for antibody to HIV-2 and one to detect Chagas' disease (JAMA. 1989; 262:1433), both recently perceived as possible threats to the nation's blood supply.

How much each additional test adds to