Molecular Epidemiology of Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) in Iran: A Preliminary Report

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To identify hepatitis delta virus (HDV) genetic variability and its circulating genotypes amongst infected Iranian patients, 25 patients with positive anti-HDV status from different parts of Iran were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. A portion of the HDV delta antigen was amplified, sequenced, and subjected to molecular and phylogenetic analysis. Clinical features and virological markers were evaluated. HDV RNA could be detected in 88% of anti-HDV positive cases (22 patients) with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and liver cirrhosis. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all Iranian patients were infected by genotype I (clade 1) of HDV, supported by a high bootstrap value (100%, 1,000 replicates). All HDV-positive patients were coinfected with genotype D1 of HBV. No significant association was determined between demographic, clinical, and virological variables in the population studied. In conclusion, the present molecular epidemiology survey reveals that clade 1 of HDV is predominant among coinfected HBV patients in Iran.

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