Hepatitis B virus genotypes in Europe


  • Conflict of Interest: none.

Stephan Schaefer, Abteilung für Virologie, Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Virologie und Hygiene, Universität Rostock, Schillingallee 70, D-18057 Rostock, Germany. Email: stephan.schaefer@med.uni-rostock.de


There are eight genotypes of hepatitis B virus (HBV). Most genotypes can be further divided into subgenotypes. HBV genotypes influence the course of disease and treatment, and show geographic preferences. In Europe, A and D are the main genotypes found. Genotype A is more prevalent in northern Europe, where genotype D is mainly found in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and in Eastern Europe. Subgenotype A2 is the dominant subgenotype in Europe, but the geographic prevalence of the four subgenotypes found in genotype D is not yet clear. On treatment with interferon HBV, genotype A, compared to genotype D, showsbetter virological response and in a large proportion of patients, even development of anti-HBs. However, in the first year of treatment with lamivudine, higher rates of emergence of YMDD variants are observed in genotype A. This work summarizes the current knowledge on HBV genotypes in countries with low and intermediate HBV carriership from Europe.