High prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 2 in Italian patients with chronic liver disease

M. Sartori, S. Andorno, E. Avogadro, M. Ballarei, G. L A Terra, F. Leone, V. Quaglia, G. Fortina, M. Aglietta

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The prevalence of different genotypes of Hepatitis C virus may vary between geographic areas and it is possible that various genotypes have different pathogenic characteristics. Therefore, 90 consecutive Italian patients anti-Hepatitis C Virus positive with a broad spectrum of chronic liver disease, have been analysed to observe prevalence of various genotypes of Hepatitis C Virus. Genotyping was performed by polymerase chain reaction with a set of nested biotinylated primers, located in Genotype 1b and genotype 2a commonly encountered (respectively, 50% and 37%) whereas other genotypes were rare. The unexpected high prevalence of genotype 2a allowed direct comparison of clinical characteristics and response to therapy between patients with genotype 2a and those with 1b. Genotype 1b was more prevalent than 2a in patients over 60 years (29 vs 12) and in those with more severe liver disease (34 vs 16). In a univariate analysis, genotype 2a was associated with less severe liver disease (p = 0.02) and younger age (p = 0.018), in comparison with genotype 1b. Patients with genotype 2a responded to interferon alpha therapy better than those with 1b (p = 0.007). In a multivariate analysis, only younger age was associated with genotype 2a. Genotype 2a (in comparison with 1b) and absence of cirrhosis were independent predictors of response to interferon alpha. In conclusion, genotype 2a is playing an emerging role in younger Italian patients and seems more sensitive than 1b to interferon alpha therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-456
Number of pages5
JournalItalian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Epidemiology
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Interferon alpha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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