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Print version ISSN 0120-4157


D’ANGELO, Pierina et al. Performance of molecular methods for identification of unusual subtypes of hepatitis C virus genotype 2. Biomédica [online]. 2018, vol.38, n.2, pp.282-288. ISSN 0120-4157.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) displays high genetic variability, with seven genotypes and numerous subtypes. The determination of the viral type has been essential for the selection and timing of antiviral treatment. In Venezuela, HCV genotype 2 is relatively diverse, being particularly prevalent subtype 2j.


To evaluate the performance of methodologies for genotyping HCV, particularly for identification of subtype 2j.

Materials and methods:

HCV genotype and subtype were determined by reverse hybridization technique (LiPA) and sequencing of the HCV 5’UTR and NS5B regions.


A total of 65 samples from HCV-infected patients were analyzed. PCR amplifications of the 5’UTR region exhibited the highest sensitivity (100% vs 91% for LiPA and 77% for NS5B). Genotype determination, taking as reference test NS5B, showed 100% concordance with the other methods, and 67% and 59% for subtypes with 5´NC and LiPA, respectively. NS5B sequencing allowed the identification of subtypes 2j and 2s, which were not detected by the other methods. A specific LiPA pattern was not observed for HCV subtype 2j.


Although being the methodology with lowest sensitivity for amplification of HCV RNA, sequencing NS5B region remains a powerful tool for correct discrimination of the different HCV subtypes, which is of epidemiological relevance.

Keywords : Hepatitis C/genetics; genotype; pathology, molecular.

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