HBeAg determinations can be used to monitor the progress of hepatitis B viral infection. HBeAg is first detectable in the early phase of hepatitis B viral infection, after the appearance of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). The titers of both antigens rise rapidly during the period of viral replication in acute infection. The presence of HBeAg correlates with increased numbers of infectious virus (Dane particles), the occurrence of core particles in the nucleus of the hepatocyte, and the presence of hepatitis B virus specific DNA and DNA polymerase in serum. HBeAg may persist together with HBsAg in chronic hepatitis B viral infection. However, a subset of chronic hepatitis B patients have no detectable HBeAg in serum, but are positive for antibody to HBeAg (anti-HBe); these patients may also be positive for serum hepatitis B virus DNA.
Manufacturer’s reagent package insert, Architect HBeAg, February 2016, Abbott GmbH &Co.KG, MAX-Planck-Ring 2, 65205 Wiesbaden, Germany