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Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 4;6:20310. doi: 10.1038/srep20310.

Global prevalence of pre-existing HCV variants resistant to direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs): mining the GenBank HCV genome data.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Institute for Viral Hepatitis, The Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology for Infectious Diseases, Chinese Ministry of Education, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China.


Direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) against hepatitis C virus (HCV) proteins open a whole new era for anti-HCV therapy, but DAA resistance associated variants (RAVs) could jeopardize the effectiveness of DAAs. We reported the global prevalence of DAA RAVs using published GenBank data. 58.7% of sequences (854/1455) harbored at least one dominant resistance variant and the highest RAV frequency occurred in Asia (74.1%), followed by Africa (71.9%), America (53.5%) and Europe (51.4%). The highest RAV frequency was observed in genotype (GT) 6 sequences (99%), followed by GT2 (87.9%), GT4 (85.5%), GT1a (56%), GT3 (50.0%) and GT1b (34.3%). Furthermore, 40.0% and 29.6% of sequences were detected RAVs of non-structural (NS) 5A inhibitors and NS3 protease inhibitors, respectively. However, RAVs to NS5B nucleo(t)ide inhibitor (NI) and NI-based combinations were uncommon (<4% of sequences). As expected, combinations of multiple RAVs to the IFN-free regimens recommended by current guidelines were rarely detected (0.2%-2.0%). Our results showed that the overall global prevalence of DAA RAVs was high irrespective of geography or genotype. However, the NI-based multi-DAA regimens had a low RAV prevalence, suggesting that these regimens are the most promising strategies for cure of the long-term HCV infection.

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