A New Isolate of Hepatitis B Virus From the Philippines Possibly Representing a New Subgenotype C6

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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes and subgenotypes show distinct geographical prevalence. A genotyping analysis of 28 samples from asymptomatic HBV carriers from the Philippines gave a distribution of HBV genotypes as expected from a previous study: 54% B (15/28), C5 18% (5/28), 14% D (4/28), 7% A1 (2/28). In addition, 7% (2/28) of the samples showed a double infection with genotypes B and D. One of the isolates sequenced completely, ph105, did not group into one of the known subgenotypes after phylogenetic analysis. Ph105 formed a separate clade in genotype C. With a genome length of 3,215 nt. and a serological subtype adr, ph105 exhibited the main features of most genotype C strains. However, ph105 differed by 4.1-7.2% from HBV subgenotypes C1 to C5 when comparing the nucleotide sequence of whole genomes. With only 4.1% difference ph105 was most closely related to subgenotype C2. SimPlot analysis gave no indication for recombination with known HBV genotypes. Ph105 fulfils all criteria for a new subgenotype C6.

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