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, 73 (3), 324-334

Hepatitis C Genotype Prevalence in Monastir Region, Tunisia: Correlation Between 5' Untranslated Region (5'UTR), Non-structural 5B (NS5B), and Core Sequences in HCV Subtyping

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Hepatitis C Genotype Prevalence in Monastir Region, Tunisia: Correlation Between 5' Untranslated Region (5'UTR), Non-structural 5B (NS5B), and Core Sequences in HCV Subtyping

Amira Souii et al. Curr Microbiol.

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a causative agent of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. It constitutes a major public health around the world. There is no vaccine available against HCV, and current therapies are effective in only small percentage of patients. HCV has wide population-specific genotype variability. Genotype knowledge and viral load assessment are equally important for designing therapeutic strategies. Taking into account that the molecular epidemiology of HCV variants circulating in Tunisia is not yet well elucidated, and that, at present, little is known about the distribution pattern of HCV in Monastir region (Tunisia), we aimed, herein, to evaluate the prevalence of HCV genotypes in Monastir and to identify risk-related factors. For this purpose, 50 anti-HCV antibody-positive cases were diagnosed and subjected to viral RNA extraction, amplification, genotyping, and viral load quantification. Molecular epidemiology was studied by 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) sequencing as compared with the non-structural 5B (NS5B) and core region sequences. Overall concordance between 5' UTR, core, and NS5B sequencing was 100 %. The highest prevalent genotype was 1b (50 %) followed by genotypes 1a (16 %), 4a (12 %), 2a (10 %), 2c (8 %), and 3a (4 %). Interestingly, the subtype 1b had a statistically significant higher viral load than the other genotypes followed by subtype 1a. Based on these data, this study revealed a high prevalence of HCV genotype 1 (subtypes 1b and 1a) compared to other genotypes. A continued monitoring of HCV and knowledge of circulating genotypes could impact on future vaccine formulations.

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