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Keywords:

  • chronic hepatitis B;
  • HBV genotype;
  • hepatitis B virus;
  • inactive chronic carriers;
  • orthohepadnavirus

Abstract: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can be classified into at least eight genotypes, A–H. We evaluated the distribution HBV genotypes among patients with chronic infection.

Methods: We consecutively evaluated adult patients with chronic HBV infection from Salvador, Brazil. Patients were classified according to HBV infection chronic phases based on HBV-DNA levels and presence of serum HBV markers. HBV-DNA was qualitatively and quantitatively detected in serum by polymerised chain reaction (PCR). Isolates were genotyped by comparison of amino acid mutations and phylogenetic analysis.

Results: One-hundred and fourteen patients were evaluated. HBV-DNA was positive in 96 samples. HBV genotype was done in 76. Mean age was 36±11.3. In 61 of 76 cases subjects were classified as inactive HBsAg carriers. Their mean HBV serum level was 1760 copies/ml and 53 of 61 were infected with HBV genotype A, seven with HBV genotype F and one with genotype B. Twelve of the 76 patients had detectable hepatitis B e-antigen (HBeAg) in serum. Ten were infected with HBV genotype A and two with genotype F; most had increased alanine aminotransferase and high HBV-DNA levels. Three patients were in the immunotolerant phase, two were infected with HBV genotype A and one with genotype F. HBV subtyping showed subtypes adw2 and adw4.

Conclusions: HBV genotype A adw2 and genotype F adw4 were the most prevalent isolates found. We could not find differences in genotype distribution according to HBV clinical phases and DNA levels. We did not detect HBV genotype D in contrast to a previous study in our center with acute hepatitis B. All inactive HBsAg carriers had low HBV-DNA levels.