Evolution of hepatitis C virus variants following blood transfusion from one infected donor to several recipients: a long-term follow-up

Arthur Love, Vilma Molnegren, Ann-Sofie Månsson, Agnes Smáradóttir, Sigurdur B. Thorsteinsson, Anders Widell

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Abstract

Variants of hepatitis C virus (HCV) from a single infected blood donor and 13 viraemic recipients who were traced were examined by sequencing and cloning to determine the extent of virus diversity in hypervariable region 1. Serum-derived viral isolates were studied from the donor when his HCV infection was discovered in 1993, in his recipients that year (0·3–5 years post-transfusion) and 5 years later in the donor and six viraemic recipients who were still alive. Viral variants of broad diversity were readily demonstrated in the baseline samples of the donor (nucleotide p-distance 0·130), but significantly less (P<0·00003) diversity was observed in the recipients' first samples (p-distances within recipients 0·003–0·062). In the first blood samples of the recipients, many of the viral variants identified were closely related to a strain variant from the donor. In follow-up samples drawn 5 years later from the donor and six recipients, the p-distance among donor clones had increased (0·172, P<0·0005) compared with the recipients, who displayed significantly narrower quasispecies (0·011–0·086). A common finding was that recipients of blood components processed from the same donation differed substantially in persisting HCV infectious sequence. Markedly few changes leading to changes of amino acids had occurred during follow-up in four of six recipients. These results question the significance of the development of viral variants as a necessary phenomenon in the evolution of HCV and pathogenesis of the disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-450
JournalJournal of General Virology
Volume85
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Microbiology in the medical area

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