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Why does HCV antibody always remain positive? 7 years 1 month ago #24181

  • DrJames
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When your body is exposed to disease it produces antibodies. This usually provides protection from same disease in future so it is like training soldiers to fight a certain battle.

By design, antibodies stick around "ready for action" should they be needed. They are not the disease, they are just a marker of disease and the thing designed to fight it now, or in the future.

With Hep C, the antibodies only work in 25% of people, so they are like "broken soldiers" but they still hang around indefinitely.....
Over time (if the disease is not seen again, and thus the soldiers remain un-needed) antibody levels fall. It's like they get put out to pasture, like old doctors, soldiers or horses.

For example after Hep B vaccination some people become undetected for the protective surface antibody after 5-10 years. Similarly some (but not all) people who are cured of Hep C will eventually have undetectable antibodies.

About 50% of people will lose detectable antibodies by 10 years post SVR.

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