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Naturally occurring genotype 2b/1a hepatitis C virus in the United States

Author(s): Bhattacharya Dipankar | Accola Molly | Ansari Israr | Striker Rob | Rehrauer William

Journal: Virology Journal
ISSN 1743-422X

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 458;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infected patients are frequently repeatedly exposed to the virus, but very few recombinants between two genotypes have been reported. Findings We describe the discovery of an HCV recombinant using a method developed in a United States clinical lab for HCV genotyping that employs sequencing of both 5' and 3' portions of the HCV genome. Over twelve months, 133 consecutive isolates were analyzed, and a virus from one patient was found with discordant 5' and 3' sequences suggesting it was a genotype 2b/1a recombinant. We ruled out a mixed infection and mapped a recombination point near the NS2/3 cleavage site. Conclusions This unique HCV recombinant virus described shares some features with other recombinant viruses although it is the only reported recombinant of a genotype 2 with a subtype 1a. This recombinant represents a conundrum for current clinical treatment guidelines, including treatment with protease inhibitors. This recombinant is also challenging to detect by the most commonly employed methods of genotyping that are directed primarily at the 5' structural portion of the HCV genome.
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