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Viral genomics and bioinformatics for hepatitis B virus


Dr Angeline Bartholomeusz, Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, 10, Wreckyn St, North Melbourne, VIC, 3051, Australia. Email:


Abstract  Viral genomics and bioinformatics is the linkage of viral genomic information with the viral and clinical parameters of patients, including therapy details and host genomics for the development of individualized patient management. In addition to variation between HBV isolated from different patients due to genotypes, naturally occurring mutations and quasispecies, new mutations are selected due to antiviral drug pressure. As viremic patients with antiviral resistant viruses continue to be treated with the initial antiviral agent, they will select further compensatory mutations. These mutations may also affect treatment with a second or third antiviral agent. Thus, the emergence of mutations in intricate patterns provides further support for the need for interactive databases due to the evolving complexity of the HBV genome. Since drug-selected HBV mutants can also act as vaccine escape viruses with the potential to infect the HBV vaccinated population, close monitoring of these mutants represents a high priority public health strategy.