Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is genetically highly divergent and classified in ten genotypes and forty subgenotypes in distinct ethno-geographic populations worldwide. Ethiopia is a country with high HBV prevalence; however, little is known about the genetic variability of HBV strains that circulate. Here, we characterize the complete genome of 29 HBV strains originating from five Ethiopian regions, by 454 deep sequencing and Sanger sequencing. Phylogenetically, ten strains were classified as genotype A1 and nineteen as genotype D. Fifteen genotype D strains, provisionally named subgenotype D10, showed a novel distinct cluster supported by high bootstrap value and >4% nucleotide divergence from other known subgenotypes. In addition, the novel D10 strains harboured nine unique amino acid signatures in the surface, polymerase and X genes. Seventy-two per cent of the genotype D strains had the precore premature stop codon G1896A. In addition, 63% genotype A and 33% genotype D strains had the basal core promoter mutations, A1762T/G1764A. Furthermore, four pre-S deletion variants and two recombinants were identified in this study. In conclusion, we identified a novel HBV subgenotype D10 circulating in Ethiopia, underlining the high genetic variability of HBV strains in Africa.

Ethiopia, genetic variability, genotype and subgenotypes, hepatitis B virus, novel subgenotype D10
dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvh.12631, hdl.handle.net/1765/108301
Journal of Viral Hepatitis
Department of Virology

Hundie, G.B, Stalin Raj, V, Gebre Michael, D. (D.), Pas, S.D, Koopmans, M.P.G, D.V.M., Osterhaus, A.D.M.E, … Haagmans, B.L. (2017). A novel hepatitis B virus subgenotype D10 circulating in Ethiopia. Journal of Viral Hepatitis, 24(2), 163–173. doi:10.1111/jvh.12631