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A description of the hepatitis B virus genomic background in a high-prevalence area in China

Xiaoming Chen1, Jie Gao1, Zhaohua Ji1, Weilu Zhang1, Lei Zhang1, Rui Xu1, Jingxia Zhang1, Fei Li2, Shi Li3, Shijie Hu4, Lei Shang5, ZhongJun Shao1* and Yongping Yan1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fourth Military Medical University, No. 17, Changle west RD, Xi’an 710032, China

2 Department of Cardiology, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, No. 17, Changle west RD, Xi’an 710032, China

3 Department of Otolaryngology, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, No. 17, Changle west RD, Xi’an 710032, China

4 Institute Of Neurosurgery, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, No. 17, Changle west RD, Xi’an 710032, China

5 Department of Statistics, School of Public Health, Fourth Military Medical University, No. 17, Changle west RD, Xi’an 710032, China

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Virology Journal 2014, 11:101  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-101

Published: 31 May 2014

Abstract

Background

Hepatitis B (HB) is an important disease worldwide. Almost 350 million people are positive for Hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg), and one-third of them live in China. According to a nation-wide serosurvey in China in 2006, the prevalence of HBsAg was higher in Northwest China than in other areas. However, the epidemic HBV strains in this area are poorly studied.

Results

In this study, 242 complete hepatitis B virus (HBV) genome sequences were obtained from HBV asymptomatic carriers in major cities of Northwest China. The 242 HBV sequences clustered into genotypes B, C and D. Through comparison of the genotype consensus sequences, 158 genotype-dependent positions were observed in P, S and X ORFs. Clinically relevant mutation screening in this study revealed that no HBV antiviral drug resistance mutations were observed and the vaccination failure mutations were heavily underrepresented.

Conclusions

The role of genotype D strains in HBV prevalence should not be ignored in Northwest China. Due to low prevalence of vaccination failure mutations, it can be inferred that the genotype B, C and D strains in Northwest China may have less likelihood of vaccine escape.

Keywords:
Hepatitis B virus; Consensus sequences; Clinically relevant mutations