Simultaneous Hepatitis C Virus Genotyping and Variant Detection in Patients with Thalassemia: A Single-Center Phylogenetic Study

Fahimeh Safarnezhad Tameshkel, Mohammad Hadi Karbalaie Niya, Farhad Zamani, Hossein Ajdarkosh, Mahmoodreza Khoonsari, Amir Hossein Faraji, Nima Motamed, Mehdi Nikkhah, Mitra Ameli, Seyyed Mohammad Miri, Azita Azarkeivan, Masood Reza Sohrabi, Hossein Keyvani



 Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype distribution is different in various regions. A variety of strategies could be used to detect HCV genotypes and subtypes. The aim of the present study was to introduce a genotyping method by an in-house protocol that could be used to determine HCV drug-resistant variants and phylogeny studies.


Samples from 91 patients with thalassemia were used for HCV genotyping by Cobas 4800 platform, and 50 cases of 1a, 1b, and 3a genotypes underwent amplification and sequencing of NS5A and NS5B by using consensus primers via conventional reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) (please spell out) method. An ABI 3730xl system used for direct sequencing. Raw sequences were analyzed by popular bioinformatics software MEGA6 and CLC workbench 5. Phylogenetic construction was drawn using 1000 replicates bootstrap by the neighbor-joining method. Multiple sequence alignment (MSA) was performed for mutation detection.


Sequencing results of 50 HCV isolates subtypes 1a (31/45), 3a (15/22) and 1b (4/8) NS5A and NS5B genes showed there were 72 NS5A and 105 NS5B mutations. Moreover, 8 resistant associated substitutions (RASs) (please spell out) were identified in nine thalassemia cases by multiple sequence alignment (MSA) (please spell out) protein analysis. The phylogenetic tree construct drew confirmed by the Cobas HCV genotyping results.


The phylogenetic analysis could be a useful tool for HCV genotyping in case of determining the drug-resistant substitutions; however, it is time-consuming and needs expert analysis and interpretation. This preliminary study in Iranian patients with thalassemia introduces specific conventional RT-PCR to find RASs to direct acting antivirals (DAAs) (please spell out) and subtype determination at the same time.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV); Genotyping; Phylogeny; Thalassemia

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