Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases | 2021
New insights into Human Pegivirus-1 (HPgV-1) genotypes diversity in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the framework of a viral discovery research program using metagenomics, Human Pegivirus-1 reads (HPgV-1, formerly known as GBV-C) were detected in plasma pools of healthy blood donors from seven sub-Saharan African countries. For five of these countries, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burundi and Madagascar, no data about HPgV-1 genotypes was reported to date. To confirm our metagenomic findings and further investigate the genotype diversity and distribution of HPgV-1 in Africa, 400 blood donations from these five localities as well as from Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Burkina Faso were screened with a RT-nested PCR targeting the viral 5 NCR region. Amplified products were sequenced, and the virus was genotyped by phylogenetic analysis. Out of the 400 plasma samples tested, 65 were positive for HPgV-1 RNA and 61 were successfully genotyped. Among these, 54 strains (88.5%) clustered with genotype 1, six (9.8%) with genotype 2 and one (1.6%) with genotype 5. Genotype 1 was observed in all countries studied, except in Madagascar, genotype 2 was detected in Mauritania and Madagascar, and genotype 5 in DRC. Overall, our results extend the geographic distribution of HPgV-1 in Africa and provide six additional complete genomes. Considering that some HPgV-1 genotypes have been reported as potential predictive indicators of lower disease progression in HIV-1 infected subjects, further investigations should be conducted to better understand the positive impact, if any, of this virus.