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Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) samples in 155 sera, from patients with chronic non-A, non-B liver disease and blood donors, were grouped into four genotypes (I, II, III, and IV) by amplification of core-gene sequences by polymerase chain reaction with type-specific primers. HCV genotypes were compared with various HCV-associated antibodies detectable by the first-generation ELISA (ELISA-1) with C100-3 protein and a second-generation immunoblot assay with four recombinant HCV proteins. Antibodies to C100-3 protein and those to its subsequence (5–1–1) were detected in 13 (93%) and 12 (86%), respectively, of 14 sera with genotype I HCV; 56 (79%) and 58 (82%) of 71 sera with genotype II; 13 (34%) and 6 (16%) of 38 sera with genotype III; and 11 (34%) and 4 (13%) of 32 sera with genotype IV. Amino acid sequences of C100-3 of genotype I HCV are conserved by ∼90% in genotype II, but only by ∼75% in genotypes III and IV. The sensitivity of ELSA-1, therefore, would be influenced by heterogeneity in C100-3 sequences of different genotypes.