A novel polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-Luminex assay was developed for rapid, accurate, and high-throughput detection of the most important hepatitis B virus (HBV) variants, including those with reverse transcriptase (RT) domain L180M, M204I/V, A181T/V/S, I233V and N236T mutations associated with resistance to lamivudine (LAM) or adefovir (ADV). Using mixtures of mutant and wild-type HBV, this method was sufficiently sensitive for detecting 10(3)HBV ml(-1) and could detect minor mutants when they comprised 5% of the total viral population. Comparison of the PCR-Luminex assay with INNO-LiPA for detecting clinical LAM- or ADV-resistant chronic hepatitis B virus infection in 64 patients confirmed the following: the 2 methods were 97.9% (48 of 49) and 93.3% (14 of 15) concordant for detecting LAM- or ADV-resistance mutations, respectively. The agreement with direct sequencing was 70.3% (45 of 64). The PCR-Luminex assay or multi-analyte suspension array can detect simultaneously and efficiently minor populations HBV mutants early during infection in many clinical samples. It is a simple, cost-effective method for resistance surveillance or selecting appropriate antiviral agents and initiating timely rescue treatment before the development drug-resistance related virus or biochemical breakthrough.
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