Hepatitis B antibodies, HBsAb, usually appear about 4 weeks after the Hepatitis B surface antigen disappears.
The presence of Hepatitis B antibodies means that the infection is at the end of its active stage and the virus to others.
Hepatitis B antibodies also protect the body from getting Hepatitis B again in the future.
The Hepatitis B immunity test is done to determine the need for vaccination as the antibody will be present after receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine series, showing that there is immunity from the virus.
Hepatitis B is sometimes known as serum hepatitis. The Hepatitis B virus can persist for years after the initial infection and can lead to chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis or liver cancer. In Africa and Asia approximately 20% of the population are carrying the virus. Today this is mainly transmitted sexually, needle sharing amongst drug abusers` and sometimes from tattooing or acupuncture with unsterile needles.
This test is designed those wishing to assess their degree of immunity.
Often healthcare workers, police officers and others who deal with individuals with a potentially high risk of infection benefit from having a Hepatitis B antibodies test done to state their immunity level.
The result will be reported as:
- Borderline - booster indicated
- Not immune
The Hepatitis B virus is a DNA virus, meaning that its genetic material is made up of deoxyribonucleic acids.
It belongs to a family of viruses known as Hepadnaviridae. The virus is primarily found in the liver but is also present in the blood and certain body fluids. Hepatitis B virus consists of a core particle (central portion) and a surrounding envelope (outer coat).
The core is made up of DNA and the core antigen (HBcAg). The envelope contains the surface antigen (HBsAg).
These antigens are present in the blood and are markers that are used in the diagnosis and evaluation of patients with suspected viral hepatitis.
How does Hepatitis B virus cause liver injury?
The Hepatitis B virus reproduces in liver cells, but the virus itself is not the direct cause of damage to the liver. Rather, the presence of the virus triggers an immune response from the body as the body tries to eliminate the virus and recover from the infection. This immune response causes inflammation and may seriously injure liver calls.
Therefore, there is a balance between the protective and destructive effects of the immune response to the Hepatitis B virus.