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Clin Liver Dis. 1999 Nov;3(4):693-716, vii.

The molecular biology of hepatitis C virus. Genotypes and quasispecies.

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  • 1Hepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. HCV is a positive-strand genotype RNA virus with extensive genetic heterogeneity; HCV isolates define 6 major genotypes, and HCV circulates within an infected individual as a number of closely related but distinct species, termed a quasispecies. This article reviews characteristic aspects of HCV molecular biology and their implications for treatment and vaccine development.

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