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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Nov 8;91(23):11022-6.

Hepatitis C virus variants from Vietnam are classifiable into the seventh, eighth, and ninth major genetic groups.

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  • 1Immunology Division, Jichi Medical School, Tochigi-Ken, Japan.


Thirty-four (41%) of 83 hepatitis C virus (HCV) isolates from commercial blood donors in Vietnam were not classifiable into genotype I/1a, II/1b, III/2a, IV/2b, or V/3a; for 15 of them, the sequence was determined for 1.6 kb in the 5'-terminal region and 1.1 kb in the 3'-terminal region. Comparison of the 15 Vietnamese isolates among themselves and with reported full or partial HCV genomic sequences indicated that they were classifiable into four major groups (groups 6-9) divided into six genotypes (6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, and 9a). Vietnamese HCV isolates of genotypes 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, and 9a were significantly different from those classified into groups 4, 5, and 6 based on divergence within partial sequences; those of genotype 6a were homologous to a Hong Kong isolate (HK2) of genotype 6a. Phylogenetic trees based on the envelope 1 (E1) gene (576 bp) of 55 isolates and a part of the nonstructural 5 (NS5) region (1093 bp) of 43 isolates revealed at least nine major groups, three of which (groups 7, 8, and 9) were identified only in Vietnamese blood donors. With a prospect that many more HCV isolates with significant sequence divergence will be reported from all over the world, the domain of the HCV genome to be compared and criteria for grouping/typing and genotyping/subtyping will have to be determined, so that they may be correlated with virological, epidemiological, and clinical characteristics.

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