Characterization of naturally occurring NS5A and NS5B polymorphisms in patients infected with HCV genotype 3a treated with direct-acting antiviral agents

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype (GT)3 is associated with increased risk of steatosis, development of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Limited data are available regarding genetic variability and use of direct-acting antiviral agents in these patients. non-structural protein 5A (NS5A) and non-structural protein 5B (NS5B) sequencing was performed on 45 HCV GT3- infected Italian patients subsequently treated with sofosbuvir ± daclatasvir (SOF ± DCV). Novel GT3a polymorphisms were observed by Sanger sequencing in three NS5A (T79S, T107K, and T107S) and three NS5B (G166R, Q180K, and C274W) baseline sequences in patients who achieved sustained virological response (SVR). Baseline NS5A resistance-associated substitutions A30K and Y93H were detected in 9.5% of patients; one patient with A30K did not achieve SVR. Phylogenetic analyses of sequences showed no distinct clustering. Genetic heterogeneity of NS5A and NS5B was evaluated using ultra-deep pyrosequencing (UDPS) in samples longitudinally collected in patients not achieving SVR. Some novel NS5A and NS5B polymorphisms detected at baseline may not impact treatment outcome, as they were not enriched in post-failure samples. In contrast, the novel L31F NS5A variant emerged in one treatment failure, and I184T, G188D and N310S, located on the same NS5B haplotype, became predominant after failure. These findings suggest a potential impact of these novel substitutions on the treatment outcome; however, their significance requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number212
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 7 2017



  • Genetic variability
  • Genotype3
  • HCV
  • NS5A
  • NS5B
  • Polymorphism
  • Resistance-associated substitutions
  • Ultra-deep pyrosequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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