Background: Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) remains a serious health problem despite the prevention and treatment measures currently implemented. There is little data on the molecular characterization of the strains circulating in the Central African Republic (CAR). Here, we sequenced the full-length genome of HBV isolated from CAR patients.
Methodology: The serum samples were collected at the Institut Pasteur de Bangui. The full-length viral genome was isolated and sequenced using the Sanger technique with four overlapping primers. Sequences were analyzed in silico for mutations and drug resistance using bioinformatics tools.
Results: Four full-length HBV genomes were successfully sequences. All four isolates belonged to genotype E and contained an rtI90L mutation in the Reverse Transcriptase (RT) functional domain A. One isolate harbored a nonsense mutation at the 3' end of the S-ORF leading to a premature stop codon and the production of short protein sequences for all three surface proteins (large, middle, and small surface antigens). In silico analysis showed that this same mutant isolate also carried an rtH234N mutation in the RT functional domain D which increases the binding energy and leads to reduced affinities for adefovir and tenofovir.
Conclusions: Hepatitis B genotype E is the major genotype circulating in the CAR. We identified a mutation in the RT gene of a CAR HBV strain and this mutation may be associated with drug resistance. Therefore, there is a need for further, in-depth investigation of HBV RT in the HBV strains in circulation in the CAR.
Published Date: 2022-05-27; Received Date: 2022-04-15