The genetic diversity of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Cyprus is investigated for the first time in this study. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the CORE-E1 and NS5B regions of the HCV genome was performed on blood plasma samples obtained from 77 HCV patients in Cyprus, collected during 2005-2008. The amplified products were sequenced and compared to reference HCV strains of known genotype and subtype in order to classify the isolates found in this study. Genotype could be determined for all strains, and subtype for all but four isolates. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that 51 patients were genotype 1, of which 38 were subtype 1b, 9 were 1a, and 1 was unclassified, one patient was genotype 2c, 13 were genotype 3a, nine were genotype 4, of which six were subtype 4a, and three were of unclassified subtype, one was genotype 5a, two patients seem to carry a possible 2k/1b recombinant strain, and no genotype 6 strains were found. This study demonstrated a genetic heterogeneity of HCV infection in Cyprus, with five of the six known HCV genotypes on the island, including unclassified isolates in genotypes 1 and 4, and also the apparent introduction of the 2k/1b recombinant strain in intravenous drug users.

CORE-E1 region, Cyprus, HCV genotypes, Hepatitis C virus, NS 5 protein, NS-5 protein, NS5B region, Phylogenetic analysis, adolescent, adult, aged, article, blood sampling, classification, controlled study, epidemiology, female, genetics, genotype, hepatitis C, hepatitis C virus, human, interferon, isolation and purification, major clinical study, male, middle aged, molecular epidemiology, nucleotide sequence, phylogeny, ribavirin, unclassified drug, unindexed sequence, virology, virus RNA, virus protein, virus strain
dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmv.21370, hdl.handle.net/1765/18515
Journal of Medical Virology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Demetriou, V.L, van de Vijver, D.A.M.C, Kostrikis, L.G, Chimonides, S, Evgeniou, N.A, Hadjigeorgiou-Vounou, E, … Potamitis, G. (2009). Molecular epidemiology of hepatitis C infection in cyprus: Evidence of polyphyletic infection. Journal of Medical Virology, 81(2), 238–248. doi:10.1002/jmv.21370