Molecular properties, biology, and clinical implications of TT virus, a recently identified widespread infectious agent of humans

Clin Microbiol Rev. 2001 Jan;14(1):98-113. doi: 10.1128/CMR.14.1.98-113.2001.


TT virus (TTV) was first described in 1997 by representational difference analysis of sera from non-A to non-G posttransfusion hepatitis patients and hence intensively investigated as a possible addition to the list of hepatitis-inducing viruses. The TTV genome is a covalently closed single-stranded DNA of approximately 3.8 kb with a number of characteristics typical of animal circoviruses, especially the chicken anemia virus. TTV is genetically highly heterogeneous, which has led investigators to group isolates into numerous genotypes and subtypes and has limited the sensitivity of many PCR assays used for virus detection. The most remarkable feature of TTV is the extraordinarily high prevalence of chronic viremia in apparently healthy people, up to nearly 100% in some countries. The original hypothesis that it might be an important cause of cryptogenic hepatitis has not been borne out, although the possibility that it may produce liver damage under specific circumstances has not been excluded. The virus has not yet been etiologically linked to any other human disease. Thus, TTV should be considered an orphan virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Virus Infections* / diagnosis
  • DNA Virus Infections* / epidemiology
  • DNA, Viral / classification
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / etiology*
  • Liver Diseases / virology
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Torque teno virus / genetics*


  • DNA, Viral