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Original article

Genetic diversity of HCV in Brazil

Elisabeth Lampe, Lia Lewis-Ximenez, Marcia P Espírito-Santo, Nathália M Delvaux, Sergio A Pereira, Allan Peres-da-Silva, Regina MB Martins, Marcelo A Soares, André F Santos, Luãnna L Vidal, Fabiana N Germano, Ana Maria B de Martinez, Rossana Basso, João R Rebello Pinho, Fernanda M Malta, Michele Gomes-Gouvêa, Ricardo A Moliterno, Dennis A Bertolini, Mayara AT Fujishima, Gonzalo Bello

Corresponding author name: Elisabeth Lampe
Corresponding author e-mail: elampe@ioc.fiocruz.br

Citation: Antiviral Therapy 2013; 18:435-444
doi: 10.3851/IMP2606

Date accepted: 13 September 2012
Date published online: 21 June 2013


Background: Many studies have documented the molecular epidemiological scenario of HCV within individual Brazilian states, but we still have an incomplete understanding of the dispersion dynamics of the virus in different regions throughout the country.

Methods: A total of 676 HCV NS5B gene sequences of subtypes 1a (n=321), 1b (n=170) and 3a (n=185), isolated from seven different Brazilian states covering four out of five regions were analysed in the present study. We also analysed 22 HCV NS5B gene sequences of minor genetic variants including genotype 2 (n=13), genotype 4 (n=6) and subtype 5a (n=3). Brazilian HCV sequences were aligned with sequences of non-Brazilian origin and subjected to maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses.

Results: These analyses revealed that the Brazilian HCV epidemic resulted from multiple introductions and autochthonous transmission of subtypes 1a, 1b, 3a and genotypes 2, 4 and 5. Brazilian HCV subtype 1a epidemic is dominated by the dissemination of one major clade; while Brazilian HCV subtypes 1b and 3a epidemics are characterized by concurrent dissemination of several independent HCV lineages. Some HCV Brazilian lineages of subtypes 1a, 1b, 2b and 3a were successful in becoming established and disseminated through several regions in the country. Despite significant phylogenetic intermixing of Brazilian sequences, the distribution of HCV strains from different states across lineages was not completely homogeneous.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate the existence of multiple introductions and local propagation of both prevalent and uncommon HCV genetic variants in Brazil and identify some major Brazilian HCV clades with nationwide dissemination. This study also suggests that the observed HCV diversity in Brazil has been shaped by both frequent viral migration among regions and in situ viral dissemination.


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