Hepatitis C virus genotype 6: virology, epidemiology, genetic variation and clinical implication.
Thong VD., Akkarathamrongsin S., Poovorawan K., Tangkijvanich P., Poovorawan Y.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a serious public health problem affecting 170 million carriers worldwide. It is a leading cause of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer and is the primary cause for liver transplantation worldwide. HCV genotype 6 (HCV-6) is restricted to South China, South-East Asia, and it is also occasionally found in migrant patients from endemic countries. HCV-6 has considerable genetic diversity with 23 subtypes (a to w). Although direct sequencing followed by phylogenetic analysis is the gold standard for HCV-6 genotyping and subtyping, there are also now rapid genotyping tests available such as the reverse hybridization line probe assay (INNO-LiPA II; Innogenetics, Zwijnaarde, Belgium). HCV-6 patients present with similar clinical manifestations as patients infected with other genotypes. Based on current evidence, the optimal treatment duration of HCV-6 with pegylated interferon/ribavirin should be 48 wk, although a shortened treatment duration of 24 wk could be sufficient in patients with low pretreatment viral load who achieve rapid virological response. In addition, the development of direct-acting antiviral agents is ongoing, and they give high response rate when combined with standard therapy. Herein, we review the epidemiology, classification, diagnosis and treatment as it pertain to HCV-6.