Background and Aims: Hepatitis G virus/GB virus-C (HGV/GBV-C) is a newly identified member of the Flaviviridae family. Its clinical significance in chronic hepatitis C infection remains controversial. There is a geographical difference in the distribution of GBV-C in the world. The frequency of GBV-C infection among hepatitis C virus (HCV) infected patients varies. The aim of the current study was to determine the prevalence and genotypes of GBV-C among Iranian patients infected with chronic HCV.
Methods: Infection with GBV-C was surveyed in 71 chronic confirmed hepatitis C infected patients. These samples were collected at the Digestive Disease Research Center (DDRC) of Shariati Hospital, Tehran, Iran from January to October 2007. The 5’-UTR region of GBV-C RNA was detected using a novel in-house touchdown nested reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), the products were sequenced and the results were aligned and phylogenically analyzed.
Results: Of the 71 HCV-infected patients, 31 (43.6%) were found positive for GBV-C RNA. Sequencing and phylogenic analysis showed that the samples were Genotype 2 of GBV-C.
Conclusions: It seems that there is a high rate of GBV-C infection among Iranian patients infected with chronic HCV. In comparison with the six reference genotypes, it was observed that all the samples were categorized in Genotype 2 of GBV-C, prevalent in North America, Africa and in European countries.
Keywords: GBV-C, HCV, Prevalence, Genotyping, Iranian, 5’-UTR
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