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Crit Rev Microbiol. 2010 May;36(2):91-133. doi: 10.3109/10408410903357455.

An overview about hepatitis C: a devastating virus.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad-45320, Pakistan.


Hepatitis C (HCV) is the disease that has affected around 200 million people globally. HCV is a life threatening human pathogen, not only because of its high prevalence and worldwide burden but also because of the potentially serious complications of persistent HCV infection. Chronicity of the disease leads to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and end-stage liver disease. HCV positive hepatocytes vary between less than 5% and up to 100%, indicating the high rate of replication of viral RNA. HCV has a very high mutational rate that enables it to escape the immune system. Viral diversity has two levels; the genotypes and Quasiaspecies. Major HCV genotypes constitute genotype 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 while more than 50 subtypes are known. All HCV genotypes have their particular patterns of geographical distribution and a slight drift in viral population has been observed in some parts of the globe.

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