Molecular epidemiology of HCV genotypes among injection drug users in taiwan: Full-length sequences of two new subtype 6w strains and a recombinant form-2b6w

Yuan Ming Lee, Huang Jie Lin, Yen Ju Chen, Cheng Ming Lee, Sheng Fan Wang, Kai Yuan Chang, Tzu Lang Chen, Hsin Fu Liu, Yi Ming Arthur Chen

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Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) circulating recombinant form (CRF) 07-BC strain has caused serious outbreaks among injection drug users in Taiwan since 2004. The objective of this study was to conduct a molecular epidemiological study of HCV genotypes in intravenous drug users in Taiwan. Blood samples and questionnaires from 591 intravenous drug users infected with HIV-1 were collected nationwide. In total, 180 samples were selected for HCV genotyping using multiplex PCR and phylogenetic analysis of the core, E1 and NS5B regions. The Inno-Lipa assay was used to confirm multiple infections with different genotypes. Eighty percent had a single infection with subtype 1b being the most common subtype (24%), 12% had double infections and two had triple infections. In addition, three recombinant forms (RFs)-2a1a, 3a1b, and 2b6w were identified. Phylogenetic analyses showed that the 3a, 6a, and 6n strains were clustered with strains present in Thailand and mainland China. Full-length sequence analysis showed that two 6w strains shared 89.4-90.2% sequence homology with the 6(r) strain from the Guangdong Province, China. Bootscan analysis revealed that the recombination breakpoint of RF-2b6w was located at the NS2-NS3 junction. In summary, the distribution of HCV genotypes among Taiwanese intravenous drug users was complex and more than 12% of the drug users were infected with more than one genotype of HCV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-68
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • HCV genotypes
  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1
  • Injection drug users

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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