Mixed genotype Hepatitis C virus infections: incidence in Scotland and methods for detection

McNaughton, Anna Lukats (2017) Mixed genotype Hepatitis C virus infections: incidence in Scotland and methods for detection. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The diagnosis of mixed genotype hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is rare and information on incidence in the UK, where genotypes 1a and 3 are the most prevalent, is sparse. Considerable variations in the efficacies of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) for the HCV genotypes have been documented and the ability of DAAs to treat mixed genotype HCV infections remains unclear, with the possibility that genotype switching may occur.

In order to estimate the prevalence of mixed genotype 1a/3 infections in Scotland, a cohort of 512 samples was compiled and then screened using a genotype-specific nested PCR assay. Mixed genotype 1a/3 infections were found in 3.8% of samples tested, with a significantly higher prevalence rate of 6.7% (p<0.05) observed in individuals diagnosed with genotype 3 infections than genotype 1a (0.8%). An analysis of the samples using genotypic-specific qPCR assays found that in two-thirds of samples tested, the minor strain contributed <1% of the total viral load. The potential of deep sequencing methods for the diagnosis of mixed genotype infections was assessed using two pan-genotypic PCR assays compatible with the Illumina MiSeq platform that were developed targeting the E1-E2 and NS5B regions of the virus. The E1-E2 assay detected 75% of the mixed genotype infections, proving to be more sensitive than the NS5B assay which identified only 25% of the mixed infections. Studies of sequence data and linked patient records also identified significantly more neurological disorders in genotype 3 patients. Evidence of distinctive dinucleotide expression within the genotypes was also uncovered. Taken together these findings raise interesting questions about the evolutionary history of the virus and indicate that there is still more to understand about the different genotypes.

In an era where clinical medicine is frequently more personalised, the development of diagnostic methods for HCV providing increased patient stratification is increasingly important. This project has shown that sequence-based genotyping methods can be highly discriminatory and informative, and their use should be encouraged in diagnostic laboratories. Mixed genotype infections were challenging to identify and current deep sequencing methods were not as sensitive or cost-effective as Sanger-based approaches in this study. More research is needed to evaluate the clinical prognosis of patients with mixed genotype infection and to develop clinical guidelines on their treatment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity > Centre for Virus Research
Supervisor's Name: Leitch, Dr. Carol
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Ms Anna L McNaughton
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-7848
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2017 13:54
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2022 08:41
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7848

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