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Molecular characterization of hepatitis c virus in multi-transfused Colombian patients

Diana di Filippo1, Fabian Cortes-Mancera12, Mauricio Beltran3, Maria Patricia Arbelaez4, Sergio Jaramillo5, Juan Carlos Restrepo15, Gonzalo Correa15 and Maria-Cristina Navas1*

Author Affiliations

1 Grupo de Gastrohepatologia, Sede de Investigacion Universitaria (SIU), Universidad de Antioquia, Carrera 53 # 61-30, Laboratorio 434, Torre 2, Medellin, Colombia

2 Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Aplicadas, Instituto Tecnologico Metropolitano (ITM), Institucion Universitaria adscrita a la alcaldia de Medellín, Medellin, CO-549 59, Colombia

3 Coordinacion Red Nacional de Bancos de Sangre, Instituto Nacional de Salud, Bogota, Colombia

4 Grupo de Epidemiologia. Facultad Nacional de Salud Publica, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia

5 Hospital Pablo Tobon Uribe, Calle 78B # 69-240, Medellin, Colombia

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:242  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-242

Published: 23 October 2012



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects 170 million persons worldwide and is a public health problem. Considering that HCV is principally transmitted by exposure to infected blood, multi-transfused patients constitute one of the most important risk groups in developing countries. To explore the dynamics of this infection in Colombia, we performed a study to determine the genotypes of HCV in a cohort of multi-transfused patients.


The serum samples from patients positive for anti-HCV were evaluated for HCV RNA by nested-PCR of the 5’untranslated region (5’UTR). Viral genotype was determined by RFLP and/or automated sequencing. HCV subtype 1b was found in eight cases (66.7%) and subtype 1a in two cases (16.7%); seven isolates of subtype 1b were obtained from patients who had received the first transfusion before 1986. Either genotypes 2b (8.3%) or 3a (8.3%) were found in the remaining positive specimens.


This is the first HCV genotyping study developed in multi-transfused patients in Colombia where HCV subtype 1b was the most prevalent. The mutation G235A in the 5’UTR of three isolates generated an additional restriction site and an RFLP pattern different from those previously described for genotype 1.