Last updated on April 2018

Rapid Point-of-care Testing for Hepatitis C in Community Clinics (RAPID-EC)


Brief description of study

The Rapid-EC pilot study will determine feasibility of providing rapid point-of-care (POC) testing for HCV in community clinics, and whether the availability of POC testing increases uptake of testing, engagement in care and completion of treatment among people who inject drugs.

The POC tests being utilised in this study are the OraQuick mouth swab test for the presence of HCV antibodies, and the Xpert HCV RNA viral load test using serum.

Detailed Study Description

The introduction of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapies has meant the elimination of hepatitis C (HCV) as a public health issue in Australia is a very real possibility. The challenge that remains is to ensure that all people living with HCV can access testing to become aware of their status, and then get treated and cured. Given that people who inject drugs (PWID) account for the vast majority of new HCV infections in Australia, this group will be key to elimination efforts. Innovative approaches are needed to overcome the barriers to accessing health services that are faced by PWID.

The Rapid-EC pilot study will determine feasibility of providing rapid point-of-care (POC) testing for HCV in community clinics, and whether the availability of POC testing increases uptake of testing, engagement in care and completion of treatment among PWID.

The Rapid-EC pilot study will be delivered by a multi-disciplinary team in three community clinics in Melbourne, Australia. After providing informed consent and receiving pre-test counselling, participants will undergo an OraQuick mouth swab test for the presence of HCV antibodies, which indicates whether a person has ever been exposed to HCV. This result is available in 20 minutes. If this test is positive they will then be offered a test for the presence of virus in the blood, known as a PCR or RNA test. The Xpert HCV RNA POC test uses a 5ml sample of blood from the vein and is run on the GeneXpert machine, which will be on-site at each clinic. This machine provides results in 105 minutes, allowing participants to receive a HCV diagnosis on the day of testing.

Both the OraQuick HCV Ab test and the Xpert HCV RNA test are highly accurate tests; however they are currently awaiting approval for diagnostic use in Australia. As such, standard-of-care testing will be performed for all participants to confirm the result and inform clinical care. Participants who have a positive HCV Ab result will have a follow-up visit with the study nurse where they will review all test results. Those who are found to have a current HCV infection (positive RNA result) will have an assessment of liver health and, where appropriate, commence HCV treatment from the clinic. Participants will be reimbursed for the time taken to complete the study.

To evaluate the impact of the study participants will be asked to complete two questionnaires: 1) at the beginning of the study to record demographics, risk behaviours, and previous experience of HCV testing; and 2) after completing the POC tests to provide feedback on their experience and preferences for testing. These responses, as well as clinical information collected by staff, will be de-identified. Data linkage with Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data will be used to determine if the participant followed up with their healthcare provider and collected a prescription for HCV treatment.

This study will provide valuable insights into the feasibility and effects of offering POC testing for HCV, particularly the effect on uptake of testing and treatment. The results will inform a larger trial, with greater numbers of participants and sites, and the introduction of finger prick testing for HCV RNA, which is likely to become available for research use in towards the end of 2017.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03231930

Contact Investigators or Research Sites near you

Start Over

Health Works

Footscray, Australia
1.68miles
  Connect »

Innerspace

Collingwood, Australia
3.33miles
  Connect »

North Richmond Community Health

Richmond, Australia
4.01miles
  Connect »

Recruitment Status: Open


Brief Description Eligibility Contact Research Team


Receive Emails About New Clinical Trials!

Sign up for our FREE service to receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.