Objectives: Genetic variability in NS5A is associated with different levels of resistance to the currently licensed NS5A inhibitors. The aim of this study was to detect NS5A inhibitor resistance associated substitutions (RASs) in hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 (GT1) patients who are naive to direct-acting HCV antivirals.
Methods: Amplification, Sanger sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of the HCV NS5A region were performed on plasma obtained from 122 consecutive patients with HCV chronic infection attending four different clinics in Italy.
Results: NS5A inhibitor RASs were detected in 14/61 (23.0%) HCV GT1b and 3/61 (4.9%) HCV GT1a infected patients (p 0.007). The pan-genotypic RAS Y93H was detected in 1 (1.6%) GT1a and 4 (6.6%) GT1b patients. GT1a sequences clustered into two different clades with RASs detected in 1/34 (2.9%) clade I and 2/27 (7.4%) clade II sequences.
Conclusions: Although the impact of naturally occurring NS5A RASs might be limited with upcoming pan-genotypic treatment regimens, this information is still useful to map naturally occurring HCV variants in different geographic areas in the context of current HCV therapy.
Keywords: Direct-acting antivirals; Drug resistance; Hepatitis C virus; NS5A; Pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin.
Copyright © 2017 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.