Determinants of the quantity of hepatitis C virus RNA

David L. Thomas, Jacquie Astemborski, David Vlahov, Steffanie A. Strathdee, Stuart C. Ray, Kenrad E. Nelson, Noya Galai, Karen R. Nolt, Oliver Laeyendecker, John A. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


To test the hypothesis that person-to-person variability in blood levels of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA can be explained, the quantity of HCV RNA was assessed in 969 persons who acquired HCV infection in the context of injection drug use. Serum HCV RNA levels ranged from 200,000 to >120 million equivalents/mL (the linear range of the assay). The median log10 HCV RNA level was 0.46 higher in 468 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive persons than in 501 HIV-negative persons (P < .001). In addition, among HIV- negative persons, lower HCV RNA levels were independently associated with younger age (P < .001), ongoing hepatitis B infection (P = .005), and the absence of needle sharing (P = .02). However, >90% of the person-to-person HCV RNA level variability was not explained by these sociodemographic, environmental, and virologic factors. Additional research is necessary to ascertain what determines the level of HCV RNA in blood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-851
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - 19 Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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