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Unified system of naming Hep C virus genotypes

The latest issue of Hepatology reports that a framework by which the Hepatitis C databases provides access to data on the virus, will internationally coordinate the assignment of new genotypes and subtypes in the future.

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International standardization and coordination of the nomenclature of variants of Hepatitis C virus is increasingly needed.

More is discovered about the scale of Hepatitis C-related liver disease and important biological and antigenic differences that exist between variants.

Dr Peter Simmonds and a colleagues expert in the field of Hepatitis C genetic variability, met to re-examine the status of HCV genotype nomenclature.

The researchers aimed to resolve conflicting genotype or subtype names among described variants of Hepatitis C.

The team also planned to draw up revised criteria for the assignment of new genotypes as they are discovered in the future.

Hep C will be classified into 6 genotypes, representing the 6 genetic groups
Hepatology

The researchers examined the Hepatitis Virus Database from Japan, the Hepatitis C virus database from France, and Los Alamos in the USA.

A listing of all classified variants of Hepatitis C incorporates a number of agreed genotype and subtype name reassignments to create consistency in nomenclature.

The paper also contains consensus proposals for the classification of new variants into genotypes and subtypes.

The researchers working on the paper recognize and incorporate new knowledge of Hepatitis C genetic diversity and epidemiology.

The team made a proposal that Hepatitis C variants be classified into 6 genotypes, representing the 6 genetic groups defined by phylogenetic analysis.

Subtype name assignment will be either confirmed or provisional, depending on the availability of complete or partial nucleotide sequence data.

The team plan to leave subtype name assignment unassigned where fewer than 3 examples of a new subtype have been described.

Dr Simmonds' team concludes, “These proposals provide the framework by which the Hepatitis C databases store and provide access to data on the virus."

"The framework will internationally coordinate the assignment of new genotypes and subtypes in the future.”

Hepatol 2005: 42(4): 962-73
26 September 2005

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