Experimental Infection of Chimpanzees with Hepatitis G Virus and Genetic Analysis of the Virus

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Hepatitis G virus (HGV) was transmitted to 2 chimpanzees by inoculation with human plasma containing ˜108 genome equivalents (GE) of HGV. The infection was characterized by the late appearance (weeks 10 and 11 after inoculation [pi]) of viremia that persisted throughout the 120-week follow-up. Serum HGV titer increased steadily until it plateaued at 106-107 GE/mL. However, despite this relatively high titer, neither of the chimpanzees developed hepatitis. The sequence of the viral genome, recovered from each chimpanzee at week 77 pi, differed from that of the inoculum by 5 nt (2 aa) and 27 nt (2 aa). Two more chimpanzees were inoculated with a first-passage plasma pool. The chimpanzee inoculated with ˜106.7 GE of HGV had viremia at week 1 pi. However, the viral titer increased with the same kinetics as observed in the first passage. The second chimpanzee inoculated with ˜104.7 GE of HGV had late appearance (week 7 pi) of viremia.

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