As of April 2012, this latest method, based on genetics, will be introduced alongside the standard serological tests.
PCR examination (Polymerase Chain Reaction) involves detection of the presence of nucleic acids - DNA - deoxyribonucleic acid and RNA - ribonucleic acid in blood or other material. These compounds represent the genetic information of viruses and retroviruses.
The presence of RNA - HCV in examined blood (hepatitis C virus) indicates that the blood comes from a person infected with HCV, who may be ill or be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.
The presence of RNA HIV in examined blood - RNA (human immunodeficiency virus) indicates that the examined blood is from a person infected with the HIV retrovirus, who can suffer from AIDS or be an asymptomatic carrier of the retrovirus.
In case of detecting the presence of the above-mentioned DNA and RNA in the blood of mothers, whose children have the umbilical cord blood collected, it should be advised to take the appropriate PCR tests in these children.
The results of PCR tests enable the detection of the genetic material (DNA or RNA) of viruses, and thus give credible evidence of the presence or lack of an infectious factor. PCR tests are the final confirmation of the results of serological tests that rely on the detection of antibodies against the virus of anti-HCV, anti-HIV and anti-HBc.
These serological tests involve detecting the antibodies produced by an infected organism, i.e. "traces" of the presence of viruses or fragmentation of the virus (HBsAg) and therefore they are less reliable than PCR tests, which allow the confirmation of the presence or absence of the "essence" of the virus, i.e. its genetic information.