An HIV-1/hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infected patient with haemophilia received a 48-week course of pegylated interferon-α-2b and ribavirin therapy for genotype 5a HCV infection. Virological response was achieved at week 24. At the end of treatment, HCV RNA in serum was detected and identified to belong to genotype 2b, rather than genotype 5a. A sensitive method for identifying minority HCV genotypes in pre-treatment serum showed genotype 2b HCV carriage prior to treatment. Sequencing the interferon sensitivity-determining region of the HCV NS5A gene obtained from pre-, intra- and post-treatment sera revealed emergence of quasispecies bearing R → K and M → A/T mutations at codons 2222 and 2223, respectively. Occult presence of minority HCV subpopulations and their acquisition of mutations following therapy can result in poor treatment outcome.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The laboratory studies were funded by a grant from the Department of Health, England.
- Genotype switch
- Multitypic HCV infection