New Hepatitis B Test Streamlines Detection

Virus can cause death from chronic liver disease

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WEDNESDAY, July 19, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Abbott Laboratories' new test that both screens and confirms the presence of the hepatitis B virus was approved Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The fully automated PRISM HBsAg assay combines two tests that are now done separately, the agency said in a statement. It may be used on samples from living blood and tissue donors, and on organs and tissues obtained from cadavers.

The hepatitis B virus infects the liver, and can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring), liver cancer, liver failure and death. A blood test is the only way to determine if a potential blood or tissue donor has been infected, the FDA said.

More information

To learn more about hepatitis B, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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