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Hepatitis B, C and D virus genotypes detected in HBsAg- or anti-HCV-positive people from the Republic of Moldova


In the Republic of Moldova, little is known about hepatitis B, C and D virus (HBV, HCV, HDV) genotypes, although the genetic variant may influence the course and outcome of disease. For HBV genotyping, 301 hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive sera collected in 2010 and 2011 from drug users, prison inmates, commercial sex workers, and the general population in different geographical regions were investigated. The 31 HBsAg-positive sera collected in 2011 were also tested for HDV. Eighty-eight anti-HCV-positive sera collected between 2010 and 2011 from the general population and health care workers were used for HCV genotyping. Phylogenetic analysis of 84 HBV sequences showed that most of the viruses belonged to genotype D (n = 82, 97.6%), predominantly to the subgenotype D1/D2 cluster (n = 75/82, 91.5%). One sequence (74110) clustered as an outlier to this cluster, and six sequences belonged to subgenotype D3. Only two subgenotype A2 sequences were found. Cloning of six samples with ambiguous sequence chromatogram signals showed no mixed infections. Phylogenetic analysis of HCV sequences from 66 patients showed a predominance of subtype 1b (n = 63, 95.5%). Two sequences belonged to subtype 3a, and one to subtype 2a. HDV RNA belonging to genotype 1 was found in two sera (2/31, 6.5%). Thus, genotypes prevalent in Europe were detected for all three hepatitis viruses. For both HBV and HCV, one genotype was dominant, while occasional other variants seem to be restricted to certain cohorts and/or transmission routes.

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The authors thank the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in Luxembourg for financial support. The authors also thank Laura Țurcan and Irina Malanco, National Centre of Public Health, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, for their contributions to the investigation of the specimens for the present study.

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Correspondence to Judith M. Hübschen.

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Oral informed consent was obtained from all participants to the screening program. A formal National Ethics Committee was set up only in 2013 when the investigations for the present study were already concluded.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Handling Editor: Michael A. Purdy.

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Gori, A., Gheorgita, S., Spinu, C. et al. Hepatitis B, C and D virus genotypes detected in HBsAg- or anti-HCV-positive people from the Republic of Moldova. Arch Virol 163, 431–438 (2018).

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