The great majority of 121 hepatitis C virus (HCV) isolates obtained from 117 Italian patients with community-acquired infection could readily be typed by genotype-specific PCR. Subtype Ib was dominant (74 isolates); subtypes 2b, 2a, and la followed, with 19, 14, and 8 isolates, respectively. The six isolates that remained untyped by this method were classified as subtype 2c on the basis of sequence analysis of PCR amplicons obtained from the core and NS5 genes. These findings indicate that HCV subtype 2c has a relatively high prevalence in Italy. Sequencing the core region from positions 160 to 259 is sufficient to distinguish subtype 2c from other known HCV genotypes.
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