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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the second most common cause of viral hepatitis worldwide. HCV genotype is the strongest predictive factor for sustained virological response (SVR). The patients with different HCV genotypes act differently in response to alpha interferon therapy, thus, the patient genotype plays vital role in treatment outcome. The aim of the present study was to assess molecular epidemiology of HCV genotypes and subtypes circulating in Hyderabad, Sindh. A cross sectional study was conducted for a period of six months from July2015 to December 2015. A total of 577 samples of HCV positive patients were collected for analysis of HCV genotypes and subtypes using Real-time PCR Assay. Out of 577 cases 57.54% (n=332) were male and 42.46% (n=245) were females. Age groups between 21 and 60 years comprised 90.47 % (n=522) of the patients. HCV 3 genotype was most frequent genotype infecting 489 (84.75%) of the patients. The second most common variety was untypeable 9.36% (n=54). A little number of patients yielded mixed variety of genotypes. The prevalence of other genotypes as follows: Genotype 1(0.52%), 1, 1a (0.87%), 1, 1b (2.43%), 1b (0.17%), 2 (0.69%), 3, 4 (0.87%), 4 (0.35%). Genotypes 5 and 6 were not identified in any patient enrolled in this study. In summary, HCV genotype 3 was the most prevalent at Hyderabad, Sindh. Despite the availability of antiviral therapy, apparent increase in HCV 3 genotype burden seems alarming and warrants urgent measures to prevent the spread of HCV infection.
Keywords: Genotyping; HCV; Hepatitis C; Hyderabad; SVR