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BACKGROUND: The highest burden of disease from hepatitis C virus (HCV) is found in Southeast Asia, but our understanding of the epidemiology of infection in many heavily burdened countries is still limited. In particular, there is relatively little data on acute HCV infection, the outcome of which can be influenced by both viral and host genetics which differ within the region. We studied HCV genotype and IL28B gene polymorphism in a cohort of acute HCV-infected patients in Southern Vietnam alongside two other cohorts of chronic HCV-infected patients to better understand the epidemiology of HCV infection locally and inform the development of programs for therapy with the increasing availability of directly acting antiviral therapy (DAAs). METHODS: We analysed plasma samples from patients with acute and chronic HCV infection, including chronic HCV mono-infection and chronic Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-HCV coinfection, who enrolled in four epidemiological or clinical research studies. HCV infection was confirmed with RNA testing. The 5' UTR, core and NSB5 regions of HCV RNA positive samples were sequenced, and the genotype and subtype of the viral strains were determined. Host DNA from all HCV positive patients and age- and sex-matched non-HCV-infected control individuals were analysed for IL28B single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs12979860 and rs8099917). Geolocation of the patients were mapped using QGIS. RESULTS: 355 HCV antibody positive patients were analysed; 54.6% (194/355) and 46.4% (161/355) were acute and chronic infections, respectively. 50.4% (81/161) and 49.6.4% (80/161) of chronic infections had HCV mono-infection and HIV-HCV coinfection, respectively. 88.7% (315/355) and 10.1% (36/355) of the patients were from southern and central regions of Vietnam, respectively. 92.4% (328/355) of patients were HCV RNA positive, including 86.1% (167/194) acute and 100% (161/161) chronic infections. Genotype could be determined in 98.4% (322/328) patients. Genotypes 1 (56.5%; 182/322) and 6 (33.9%; 109/322) predominated. Genotype 1 including genotype 1a was significantly higher in HIV-HCV coinfected patients compared to acute HCV patients [43.8% (35/80) versus 20.5% (33/167)], (p = <0.001), while genotype 6 was significantly higher in chronic HCV mono-infected patients [(44.4% (36/81) versus 20.0% (16/80)] (p = < 0.004) compared to HIV-HCV coinfected patients. The prevalence of IL28B SNP (rs12979860) homozygous CC was 86.46% (83/96) in control individuals and was significantly higher in acutely-infected compared to chronically-infected patients [93.2 (82/88) versus 76.1% (35/46)] (p = < 0.005). CONCLUSION: HCV genotype 6 is highly prevalent in Vietnam and the high prevalence in treatment naïve chronic HCV patients may results from poor spontaneous clearance of acute HCV infection with genotype 6.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0212734

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

2019

Volume

14

Keywords

Acute Disease, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Child, Child, Preschool, Coinfection, Female, Genotype, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Hepacivirus, Hepatitis C, Chronic, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, RNA, Viral, Vietnam