The significance of seroconversion as detected by an ELISA screening test for hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody with a negative supplemental/confirmatory recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA) result was investigated. Of 118,220 established West Midlands blood donors with at least one negative HCV antibody screen, 43 had seroconverted in 1994 according to the ELISA but had negative RIBA-3 results. The paired archive serum samples of the pre- and postseroconversion donations of 29 seroconverting donors were tested by nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection of HCV RNA. All 58 samples were negative by PCR. The absence of detectable viraemia in all tested seroconverting donors suggests that HCV infection was not responsible for seroconversion by ELISA.
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