1887

Abstract

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause worldwide of liver disease, including hepatocellular carcinoma. There are eight known genotypes (A–H), of which genotype A has been divided into two subtypes: A2, prevalent in Europe, and A1, which is prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, but also occurs in southern Asia. In this study, which includes 14 new complete genomes of non-European genotype A HBV, it was found that West African strains seem to constitute a new subgroup, A3. The high degree of genetic diversity within Africa indicates that genotype A originates from Africa. Based on a 2 % genetic distance between Asian and Somali sequences, it seems that the A1 subtype has spread from East Africa to southern Asia during the last 1000–2000 years. Moreover, it is proposed here that the A2 subtype originates from southern Africa and was imported to Europe around 500 years ago or later. The finding of T-1809/1812 close to the precore start codon and T-1862 and A-1888 in the precore region in HBV e antigen-positive children with signs of a mimimal immune response indicates that these substitutions are stable variants, rather than mutations emerging during infection in individual carriers.

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2005-08-01
2019-11-12
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