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Keywords:

  • double infection;
  • interference;
  • chronic hepatitis;
  • polymerase chain reaction

Abstract

To characterize the state of dual infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), HBV-DNA and HCV-RNA levels were determined by spot hybridization or polymerase chain reaction in the sera of patients who were positive for both hepatitis B surface antigen and HCV antibody. Among 27 patients who showed evidence of double infection, 21 (77.8%) had detectable levels of only either HBV or HCV genome in their sera, 2 (7.4%) showed none of the viral genomes, and 4 (14.8%) had both HBV-DNA and HCV-RNA. In the 4 patients with both HBV-DNA and HCV-RNA, the titers of HCV-RNA or HBV-DNA were lower than those in the patients with HCV-RNA or HBV-DNA alone. In some patients with chronic hepatitis, the viruses appeared to replicate in turn in the course of the disease. These results indicate that the viruses show alternating dominance in replication in most of the patients who have dual infection with HBV and HCV, probably due to interference of the viruses. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.