Estimation of hepatitis B (HBV) viral load (VL) is critical in hepatitis-B cascade-of-care and at present there is no point of care (POC) molecular assay available for the same. This study evaluated the performance of a new near point of care molecular assay Xpert HBV- VL assay against the approved assays.
In this study 172 archived previously tested samples, were simultaneously re-tested for HBV DNA on 3 real-time PCR assays: Abbott Real-Time HBV, Roche TaqMan® HBV and Xpert HBV assay.
Out of 172 samples,119 were previously positive for HBV DNA with a median VL 4.46 (IQR : 1 to 8.76 )logIU/ml and 53 were HBV DNA negative. Genotyping could be done in 95 (79.8%) samples and genotype D (83; 87.3%) was the commonest type. The Xpert assay demonstrated a good correlation with Abbott (R = 0.94) and Roche (R = 0.96). On comparison, the mean difference with 95% Confidence Interval of Xpert assay was -0.018 and -0.043 log IU/ml with Abbott and Roche assay, respectively. The overall sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value, and positive predictive value of the Xpert assay was found 97.5%, 100%, 94.65 & 100% respectively.
Xpert HBV-VL assay which has a potential for near point of care molecular testing has shown excellent performance and found to be a reliable method for HBV DNA quantification.

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