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Repeating HCV Genotype Determination Prior to Initial of Antiviral Therapy

February 05 , 2018

From the office of the  Provincial Laboratory for Public Health of Alberta (ProvLab)

Key Messages:

  • Prior to initiation of antiviral therapy for HCV infection, it is recommended to obtain a baseline HCV viral load.
  • If a genotype-dependant antiviral therapy is contemplated, it is recommended to repeat the genotype determination if it was done more than a year prior to initiation of therapy.


With the increased availability of high effective anti HCV therapy, a growing number of patients infected with HCV will undergo treatment. Prior to therapy initiation, blood samples are submitted for baseline viral load determination.

If genotype-dependent therapy is contemplated, it is recommended that the genotype determination should repeated if it was done more than one year ago.

Reasons for this include the  possibility of a change in genotype, through superinfection with a different HCV strain or change over time in the dominant strain on a mixed infection.

Process and Specimen Submission:

  • The required sample is a serum in SST or a blood in EDTA.
  • Both the HCV viral load and genotype can be determined from the same sample (minimum 3.6 mL of blood).
  • The requisition should explicitly request genotype determination and clearly state that the patient is about to start MCH antiviral therapy.

Inquiries and feedback may be directed to:

Raymond Tellier, MD MSC FRCPC CSPQ FCCM D(ABMM), Acting Program Leader, Hepatitis Viruses Program, ProvLab: email, p: 403.944.2724

This bulletin has been reviewed and approved by:

Dr. Graham Tipples, Medical/Scientific Director, ProvLab