Clinical evaluation of two methods for genotyping hepatitis C virus based on analysis of the 5′ noncoding region

Frederick S. Nolte, Alicia M. Green, Kristin R. Fiebelkorn, Angela M. Caliendo, Cynthia Sturchio, Aileen Grunwald, Mimi Healy

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75 Scopus citations


We compared the performance characteristics of a standardized direct sequencing method (TRUGENE HCV 5′NC; Visible Genetics Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and a reverse hybridization line probe assay (INNO-LiPA HCV II; Bayer Corp., Tarrytown, N.Y.) for genotyping of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Both methods are based on detection of sequence heterogeneity in the 5′ noncoding (5′NC) region. Concordance between the genotyping methods was assessed by testing 172 samples representing the six major genotypes. Sequence analysis of the more phylogenetically informative nonstructural 5B (NS5B) region was also done with 148 (86%) samples to confirm the accuracy of and resolve discrepancies between the 5′NC genotyping results. The sensitivities of the methods were assessed by using the 5′NC amplicon from both the qualitative and quantitative AMPLICOR HCV tests (Roche Diagnostics Corp., Indianapolis, Ind.). The ability of the methods to detect mixed-genotype infections was determined with mixtures of two different genotypes at relative concentrations ranging from 1 to 50%. Both 5′NC methods were able to genotype 99.4% of the samples with type agreement for 99.5% and subtype agreement for 68.2% of the samples. No or ambiguous subtype results were found by the line probe assay for 16.5% and by the TRUGENE 5′NC test for 17.1% of the samples. Discrepancies occurred between the line probe assay and NS5B results at the type level for 1.4% of the samples and at the subtype level for 14.2% of the samples. Discrepancies also occurred between the TRUGENE 5′NC and NS5B results at the type level for 2% of the samples and at the subtype level for 8.1% of the samples. We also found two distinct strains of HCV classified as type 2 by analysis of the 5′NC region that were type 1 by analysis of the NS5B region. The sensitivities of the two 5′NC genotyping methods were comparable and dependent on the amplification test used (∼103 IU/ml with the qualitative HCV RNA tests and ∼105 IU/ml with the quantitative HCV RNA tests). Genotype mixtures were successfully identified at a relative concentration of 5% by the line probe assay and 10% by the TRUGENE 5′NC test. In conclusion, the performance characteristics of the 5′NC methods were similar and both methods produced accurate results at the genotype level but neither method should be used for subtyping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1558-1564
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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