Detection and Phylogenetic Analysis of Human Pegivirus (GBV-C) Among Blood Donors and Patients Infected With Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) in Qatar

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Human Pegivirus (HPgV), formerly GB virus-C/Hepatitis G virus (GBV-C/HGV), collectively known as GBV-C, is widely spread and has been reported to be associated with non-A–E hepatitis. To our knowledge, no previous study was conducted about HPgV in Qatar. Thus, the objectives of this study were as follows: (i) to determine the rates of HPgV infection in Qatar among healthy blood donors and HBV-infected patients, and (ii) to determine the most predominant HPgV genotype in Qatar. A total of 714 blood plasma samples from healthy donors (612) and HBV-infected patients (102) were collected. RNA was extracted, reversed transcribed, and then subjected for HPgV detection by two round-nested PCR using primers amplifying a 208 bp of 5′-UTR of the HPgV. For genotyping, the 5′-UTR PCR products (from 25 randomly picked samples) were cloned and sequenced. The overall infection rate of HPgV in Qatar was 13.3%. There was no significant difference (P = 0.41) in the infection rates between healthy donor (13.7%) and in HBV-infected patients (10.7%). Moreover, we did not find any significant association between HPgV infection rates and nationality, sex, or age (P > 0.05). Sequence analysis of 40 5′-UTR PCR amplicons yielded the European genotype 2 as most predominant in Qatar, although other genotypes (5 and 7) were also present. Our results indicate that there is no strong correlation between HPgV infection rate, condition, nationality, age, and sex, and genotype 2 is most predominant in Qatar. J. Med. Virol. 87:2074–2081, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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