Molecular Biology of HCV: Implications in Epidemiology and Diagnosis of Infection

  • M. Rapicetta
  • C. Argentini
  • S. Dettori
  • E. Spada


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.


Recombinant Vaccinia Virus Line Probe Assay General Virology Antibody Pattern Viral Variability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Choo, Q.-L. Richman, K.H. Han, J.H. Berger, K. Lee, C. Dong, C. Gallegos, C. Coit, D. Medina-Selby, R. Barr, P.J. Weiner, A.J. Bradley, D.W. Kuo, G. and Houghton, M. (1991). Genetic organization and diversity of the hepatitis C virus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 88, 2451–2455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ralston, R. Thudium, K. Berger, K. Kuo, C. Gervase, B. Hall, J. Selby, M. Kuo, G. Houghton, M. and Choo, Q.-L. (1993). Characterization of hepatitis C virus envelope glycoprotein complexes expressed by recombinant vaccinia viruses. Journal of Virology, 67, 6753–6761.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Grakoui, A. Wychowski, C. Lin, C. Feinstone, S.M. and Rice, C. M. (1993). Expression and identification of hepatitis C virus polyprotein cleavage products. Virology, 67, 1385–1395.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tokita, H. Okamoto, H. Iizuka, H. Kishimoto, J. Tsuda, F. Lesmana, L.A. Miakawa, Y. and Mayumi, M. (1996). Hepatitis C virus variants from Jakarta, Indonesia classifiable into novel genotypes in the second (2e and 2f), tenth, (10a) and eleventh (11a) genetic groups. Journal of General Virology 11, 293–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Okamoto, H. Sugiyama, Y. Okada, S. Kurai, K. Akahane, Y. Sugai, Y. Tanaka, T. Sato, K. Tsuda, F. Miyakawa, Y. and Mayumi, M. (1992). Typing hepatitis C virus by polymerase chain reaction with type-specific primers: application to clinical surveys and tracing infectious sources. Journal of General Virology 73, 673–679.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Stuyver, L. Rossau, R. Wyseur, A. Duhamel, M. Vanderborght, B. Van Heuverswyn, H. and Maertens, G. (1993). Typing of hepatitis C virus isolates and characterization of new subtypes using a line probe assay. Journal of General Virology 74, 1093–1102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    McOmish, F. Yap., PL. Dow, B.C. Follett, E.A.C Seed, C. Keller, A.J. Cobain, T.J. Krusius, T. Kolho, E. Naukkarinen, R. Lin, C. Lai, C. Leong, S. Medgyesi, G.A. Hejjas, M. Kiyokawa, H. Fukada, K. Cuypers, T. Saeed, A.A. Alrasheed, A.M. Lin, M. and Simmonds, P. (1994). Geographical distribution of hepatitis C virus genotypes in blood donors-an international collaborative survey. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 32, 884–892.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    McOmish, F. Chan, S.-W. Dow, B.C. Gillon, J. Frame, WD. Crawford, R.J. Yap, P.L. Follett, E.A.C. and Simmonds, P. (1993). Detection of three types of hepatitis C virus in blood donors: investigation of type-specific differences in serological reactivity and rate of alanine aminotransferase abnormalities. Transfusion 33, 7–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tanaka, S. (1994). Type C hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma in Japan. In Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease, pp. 713–715. Edited by K. Nishioka, H. Suzuki, S. Mishiro & T. Oda. Springer-Verlag, Tokyo.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Pawlotsky, J.-M. Tsakiris, L. Roudot-Thoraval, F. Pellet, C. Stuyver, L. Duval, J. and Dhumeaux, D. (1995). Relationship between hepatitis C virus genotypes and sources of infection in patients with chronic hepatitis C. The Journal of Infectious Diseases 171, 1607–1610.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ruggieri, A. Argentini, C. Kouruma, F. Chionne, P. D’Spada, E. Dettori, S. Sabbatani, S. and Rapicetta, M. (In press). Prevalence of HCV genotype 2 variants in West Central Africa (Guinea Conakry): identification of 4 additional subtypes. Journal of General Virology.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Angelico, M. Renganathan, E. Fathy, M. Gandin, C. Profili, M.C. Refai, W. De Santis, A. Capocaccia, L. Callea, F. Rapicetta, M. Badr, G. and Rocchi, G. for the Italian-Egyptian Schistosomiasis and Hepatitis C Study Group (1995). The nature of chronic liver disease in Alexandria, Egypt, an hyper-endemic area for schistosoma mansoni and hepatitis C infection. (Inviato per la pubblicazione).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bukh, J. Purcell, R.H. and Miller, R.H. (1993). At least 12 genotypes of hepatitis C virus predicted by sequence analysis of the putative El gene of isolates collected worldwide. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 90, 8234–8238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Rapicetta
    • 1
  • C. Argentini
    • 1
  • S. Dettori
    • 1
  • E. Spada
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of VirologyIstituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations