In viral infections persistence of the virus is not always associated with virus-induced disease. To find out if active hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can persist without liver disease we selected four symptom-free individuals with antibodies to HCV but normal aminotransferase levels. They were followed up for 3 years by monthly serology and a liver biopsy was done. At presentation, all four had both antibodies to HCV and circulating HCV RNA. During follow-up their sera remained persistently positive for all HCV antibodies and RNA yet aminotransferase levels did not increase and liver biopsy was normal. These findings indicate that persistent hepatitis C viraemia is not invariably associated with liver damage. © 1993.
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