Identification of a new hepatitis B virus recombinant D2/D3 in the city of So Paulo, Brazil

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Santana, Luiz Claudio [UNIFESP]
Mantovani, Nathalia Pena [UNIFESP]
Ferreira, Maira Cicero [UNIFESP]
Arnold, Rafael [UNIFESP]
Sanz Duro, Rodrigo Lopes [UNIFESP]
Abrao Ferreira, Paulo Roberto [UNIFESP]
Hunter, James Richard [UNIFESP]
Leal, Elcio
Diaz, Ricardo Sobhie [UNIFESP]
Komninakis, Shirley Vasconcelos [UNIFESP]
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Two hundred forty million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) worldwide. The rise of globalization has facilitated the emergence of novel HBV recombinants and genotypes. We evaluated HBV genotypes and recombinants, mutations associated with resistance to antivirals (AVs), progression of hepatic illness, and inefficient hepatitis B vaccination responses in chronically infected individuals in the city of So Paulo, Brazil. Forty-five full-length and 24 partial-length sequences were obtained. The genotype distribution was as follows: A (66.7%), D (15.9%), F (11.6%) and C (4.3%). We describe a new recombinant (D2/D3), confirmed through next-generation sequencing (NGS) and reconstruction of the quasispecies sequences in silico. Primary resistance and major vaccine escape mutations were not found. We did, however, find mutations in the S region that might may be related to HBV antigenicity changes, as well as Pre-S deletions. The precore/core mutations A1762T + G1764A (40.9%) were found mostly in genotypes A and D, and G1896A (29.55%) was more frequent in genotype D than in genotype A. The genotypic distribution reflects the history of Brazilian immigration. This is the first description of recombination between genotypes D2 and D3 in Brazil. It is also the first confirmation through NGS and reconstruction of the quasispecies in silico. However, little is known about the response to treatment of recombinants. This demonstrates the need for molecular epidemiology studies involving the analysis of full-length HBV sequences.
Archives Of Virology. Wien, v. 162, n. 2, p. 457-467, 2017.