A rapid real-time PCR assay for determination of hepatitis C virus genotypes 1, 2 and 3a


Amir Moghaddam, Fürst Medisinsk Laboratorium, Søren Bulls vei 25, N-1051 Oslo, Norway.
E-mail: amoghaddam@furst.no


Summary.  The genotypes of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in serum of patients have been described as independent predictors of success of antiviral therapy. Therefore, different antiviral regimens have been proposed depending on the infecting HCV genotype. HCV strain is usually determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of genome followed by sequencing or by line-probe assays. We report a new one step real-time PCR assay for genotyping of HCV strains that are prevalent in patients in Norway. HCV types 1, 2 and 3a were genotyped unambiguously in 37 patient serum samples with 100% correlation to genotyping by nucleotide sequence analysis and line-probe assays. Genotyping could also be confirmed against an HCV genotype panel from the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control. This assay does not require manipulation of amplified PCR products, it involves very little hands on and analysis time. This assay can be used for rapid genotyping of HCV-RNA in infected patients to aid physicians decide suitability of patients for treatment and subsequent length of treatment.