A single host infected with differing viral strains provides an opportunity for studying host-virus and virus-virus interactions. These include viral interference, and genetic recombination, which are not able to be studied when a host is infected with a single viral strain.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a positive single-strand RNA virus. It establishes persistent infection in up to 85% of infected individuals.
However, there is little data on the co-infection or super-infection of HCV.
In this study, researchers from the United States explored super-infection in liver transplantation patients, where both the recipient and donor were infected with different strains of HCV.
The team collected serial serum samples at multiple time points from 6 HCV-positive liver donor/recipient pairs.
|Only 1 strain of HCV was identified at each time point in all 6 cases.|
At each time point, they also determined the HCV genotype using restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis and phylogenetic analysis.
In addition, the researchers sequenced 3 full-length HCV isolates immediately after transplantation. These included both 5' and 3' ends.
The research team identified only 1 strain of HCV at each time point in all 6 cases.
They determined that recipient HCV strains took over in 3 cases, whereas donor HCV strains dominated after liver transplantation in the remaining 3 cases.
Dr Xiaofeng Fan's team concluded, "In all 6 cases studied, there was no genetic recombination detected among HCV quasispecies or between donor and recipient HCV strains".