The detection of HBV-DNA in serum by molecular hybridization is the most sensitive and specific marker of replication and infectivity of hepatitis B virus and currently is proposed as a routine diagnostic technique in the follow-up of HBV - related diseases. Comparing different techniques already described, we found that direct spotting of serum samples on nitrocellulose membranes under vacuum filtration, followed by denaturing and neutralizing washes is more practical, simple, sensible and reproducible. DNA polymerase assay using phosphonoformic acid as specific viral inhibitor has shown 86.8% of concordance with HBV-DNA detection, and so, it is an useful alternative in the follow-up of hepatitis B chronic patients. We found 19.2% HBeAg positive samples with no other markers of viral replication and no anti-HBe positive sample had detectable HBV-DNA. Discordance between the 2 systems have been extensively described, and we confirm this for the first time in our country. Molecular biological techniques are essential to determine the replication status of chronic hepatitis B patients.
Hepatitis B; Molecular hybridization; DNA polymerase; HBV-DNA; HBV replication markers; Chronic hepatitis B