, Volume 152, Issue 11, pp 2017-2025
Date: 06 Aug 2007

Distribution of HBV genotypes, subgenotypes and HBsAg subtypes among chronically infected patients in Serbia

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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been classified into eight genotypes (some of them further divided into two or more subgenotypes) and nine HBsAg subtypes, distinctly distributed geographically. The aim of this study was to gain insight into the distribution of HBV genotypes, subgenotypes and HBsAg subtypes among HBV chronically infected patients in Serbia, since there were no previously published data on this subject. Eighty-nine plasma samples that gave a positive result in a nested PCR were included for genotype identification. Genotyping was performed by direct sequencing of the part of the S/pol gene, and the HBsAg subtype was deduced from the HBsAg sequence. Two HBV genotypes, A and D, were encountered in Serbia, with genotype D (D – 82%, A – 18%) and subgenotype D3 (47.9%) being prevalent. Genotype D isolates had three assigned subtypes (ayw2, ayw3, ayw4), with ayw2 found to be the most prevalent (ayw2 – 53.4%, ayw3 – 43.8%, ayw4 – 1.4%). Genotype A isolates belonged to the A2 subgenotype and the HBsAg subtype adw2, as expected for samples from European population. The results correspond to country’s geographical position, being in close proximity to the Mediterranean basin and on the main route between the Middle East and Central Europe.