Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease that affects approximately one third of the world’s population, spread widely throughout Asia and Africa. It is estimated that 350 million people are chronic (lifelong) carriers, of which approximately 25% will develop cirrhosis and liver cancer. The world Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of highly sensitive and specific immunoassays against hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) to screen blood bank supplies for infection and prevent transmission. The presence or absence of additional antibodies and antigens serve as additional indicators to distinguish between acute and chronic infections enabling medical treatment to be directed accordingly.
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