Shifting Patterns of Hepatitis C Genotypes Distribution Seen


Hepatitis C has seven genotypes. Researchers in China looked at the geographic distribution of genotypes among people co-infected with hep C and HIV.

Researchers have identified changes in the distribution of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes in patients who also have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in a particular region of China. The movement in genotypes is described in a paper recently published on the web site PLOS One. The research was conducted by Weilie Chen, of the Department of Infectious Disease at Guangzhou No. 8 People’s Hospital in Guangzhou, China, and colleagues.

The most common cause of death in patients with HIV has become co-infection with HCV. The researchers say, “The distribution of HCV genotypes varies with geographical regions and time, and limited studies have focused on the HCV genotype in HIV/HCV co-infection.” In order to learn more about the distribution of the HCV genotypes, they examined data from 414 patients in three regions of China: South, Central, and Northwest.

“Seven HCV genotypes (1 to 7) and a large number of subtypes have been identified and are distributed worldwide,” say the authors. East Asia is the most common area to find genotype 1, 2, and 6. Genotype is important in the management of the disease, and though there have been indications that genotypes 1b and 2a are the most common in China, there is little data available regarding HIV/HCV co-infection specifically.

In the study cohort, the researchers report, “There were 5 genotypes and 10 subtypes of HCV identified,” adding, “age varied among patients with different HCV genotypes.” Older patients tended to have genotype 2 and 1, and they said, “the subtype 1b patient group was older than the subtype 6a and 3b groups.” They also found that genotypes were distributed unequally and unevenly by region.

The results of the study “may suggest that HCV genotypes 3 and 6 have migrated from South to North in patients with HIV/HCV co-infection when compared to previous studies, as suggested for chronic hepatitis C,” say the authors. With that theory in mind, they considered risk factors for the patients in the study and found that “genotypes 3 and 6a account for the majority of IDU [injection drug users] from the South, while genotypes 1b and 2a were mostly spread through blood transfusion in the South and exclusively in the Central region.” These results may suggest an association between genotype and route of transmission.

“In conclusion, this study reveals the changing epidemiology of HCV genotype among patients with HIV/HCV co-infection in China,” say the authors, adding, “these findings may have important implications for HIV/HCV transmission and treatment in China.”

Further coverage:

Better Treatment for HCV/HIV Co-Infected Patients

Worldwide Study Reveals HIV/Hepatitis C Co-Infection Rate

Pangenotypics: Panacea for HCV?

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