Hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) is a major medical problem in China. The lack of a suitable infection model in China is recognized as an obstacle for research on HBV in China. Chinese -species is phylogenetically closely related to , thus, it might be suitable to serve as an animal model for HBV infection. Therefore, we attempted to prove the claim about the existence of woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV)-like viruses in Chinese -species and to determine the susceptibility of these species to experimental WHV infection. In the present study, 653 sera from three Chinese -species, , and , were screened for WHV-like viruses by serological and molecular assays. The susceptibility to WHV of three species was investigated by experimental infection and monitored by testing of anti-WHc and WHsAg by ELISA, detection of WHV DNA by PCR, and detection of WHV replication intermediates and antigens in liver samples. No evidence for the existence of a genetically closely related virus to WHV in three Chinese -species was found by serological assays and PCR. was susceptible to WHV infection as inoculated animals became positive for anti-WHc, WHsAg and WHV DNA. Further, WHV replication intermediates and proteins were detected in liver samples. In contrast, remained negative for tested virological parameters. species showed a limited susceptibility to WHV. Our data do not support early reports about WHV-like viruses in China. is suitable for the establishment of a model for hepadnaviral infection.


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vol. , part 3, pp. 681 - 691

Basic information about the animals included in the study

Primers used for PCR and RT-PCR

Detailed information about Chinese marmots included for b sequence analysis

WHV-like virus DNA screening in sera samples of Chinese marmots [Single PDF file](116 KB)

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