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Project TitleDetection of Occult Hepatitis C Infection
Track Code2017-040
Short Description
TagsHepatitis C Virus, direct acting antivirals,  occult HCV infection, Liver transplantation,  RT-qPCR, diagnostics
Posted DateSep 18, 2017 12:59 PM

Market Opportunity

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) chronically infects over 130 million people worldwide and greatly increases risks for liver cancer and organ failure. Current standard treatment using direct acting antiviral drugs (DAAs) is thought to achieve complete viral clearance in nearly all treated patients. Eradication is determined by persistently undetectable viral RNA in serum at 12 weeks after antiviral therapy, known as sustained viral response (SVR) 12. However, a recent study has shown that 10% of post-liver transplant patients who had attained SVR12 continued to exhibit clinical features of HCV infection. Notably, more than half of these patients had active HCV replication in their liver or peripheral blood mononuclear cells. This suggests current standard of care diagnostics are inadequate for detecting hidden viral reservoirs. 

USC Solution

USC researchers have developed a highly sensitive RT-qPCR based method to detect occult hepatitis C infection. The test is easy to perform and able to detect as few as 50 copies of viral transcript per nanogram of tissue RNA sample. Positive test results can be used to recommend patients for further treatment with DAAs.

Value Proposition

  • Highly sensitive and accurate diagnostic test for detecting occult hepatitis C infection 
  • Simple standardized assay to perform 


  • Method of diagnosing occult hepatitis C infection

Stage of Development

  • Tested with patient samples previously determined to have attained SVR12 upon DAAs therapy  
  • Available for exclusive or non-exclusive license

Intellectual Property

Contact Information

Camilo Ansarah-Sobrinho, Licensing Associate

USC Stevens Center for Innovation

(213) 821-6071



File Name Description
NCD 2017 040 Detection of Occult Hepatitis C Infection None Download
NCD-2017-040-Detection-of-Occult-Hepatitis-C-Infection.pdf None Download