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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 5a is the predominant genotype in southern Africa with a high prevalence amongst infected blood donors from areas in South Africa. We have determined the nucleotide sequence corresponding to the complete coding region of an HCV isolate, EUH1480, previously classified as genotype 5a, from an Edinburgh haemophiliac. The sequence contained a single open reading frame (ORF) coding for a polyprotein of 3014 amino acids. Comparison with the polyprotein sequences from other HCV genotypes, where the ORF varies from 3008 to 3037 amino acids, showed the observed variation in size was due to differences in lengths of the envelope 2 and the nonstructural 5A proteins. The sequence divergence of HCV genotype 5 ranged from 29.4% nucleotide differences (24.91% amino acid differences) compared with genotype 1c to 32.5% nucleotide differences (30.3% amino acid differences) compared with 2a. Phylogenetic analysis of the available full length nucleotide sequences showed EUH1480 to form a branch distinct from the other HCV types, confirming the classification of type 5a as a separate genotype.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem Biophys Res Commun

Publication Date





44 - 49


Amino Acid Sequence, Genome, Viral, Hepacivirus, Hepatitis C, Humans, Molecular Sequence Data, Sequence Alignment, Sequence Analysis, South Africa