Molecular Biology of HCV: Implications in Epidemiology and Diagnosis of Infection
The progress achieved in the molecular biology of HCV and the definition of viral variability have been crucial for developing more sensitive and specific diagnostic assays and for understanding the significance of relevant markers during the natural history of infection. Extensive phylogenetic studies have provided evidence of at least 11 major genotypes and several subtypes.
A wide spectrum of subtypes has been demonstrated for genotypes 2 and 4 in several African countries. In particular, we demonstrated, by a seroepidemiological study, the presence of 4 additional subtypes (namely: 2g, 2h, 2i, 2l) simultaneously circulating in the west central African country of Guinea Conakry.
The presence of HCV genotype 4 variants has been found in Tanzania in sera with an undeterminated antibody pattern.
Specific epidemiological characteristics may have an impact on the wide variability of HCV in African countries.
KeywordsRecombinant Vaccinia Virus Line Probe Assay General Virology Antibody Pattern Viral Variability
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