The Intergenotypic 2k/1b hepatitis C virus recombinants in the East Macedonia and Thrace region of Greece

Authors Katerina Kassela, Ioannis Karakasiliotis, Eleni Kokkiou, Fani Souvalidou, Panayotis Mimidis, Stavroula Veletza, Maria Panopoulou, John Koskinas, Konstantinos Mimidis, Penelope Mavromara.


Background Intergenotypic recombinant hepatitis C virus (HCV) strains emerge rarely during coinfection of the same individual with two HCV genotypes. Few recombinant HCV strains have been identified to date and only one, CRF01 2k/1b, has become a worldwide concern. This study reevaluated the genotyping of three HCV genotype 2 strains from a group of patients with an unusually low rate of sustained virological response after pegylated interferon/ribavirin treatment. In addition, genetic determinants of host interferon resistance were evaluated.

Methods The HCV type 2 strains from the patients’ serum were subjected to partial sequencing of the core-E1, NS2, NS5A and NS5B regions by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Furthermore, the IFNL3 rs12979860 and the IFNL4 rs368234815 single nucleotide polymorphisms were defined in two of the three patients.

Results All three strains were phylogenetically related to the Russia-derived CRF01 2k/1b while they encompassed the exact same 2k/1b junction site within NS2.

Conclusion This is the first report of HCV 2k/1b recombinants in Greece and the greater area of the Balkans.

Keywords Hepatitis C virus, IFN-resistance, phylogenetic analysis, recombination

Ann Gastroenterol 2019; 32 (1): 88-92

Original Articles