GB virus C and hepatitis G virus (GBV-C/HGV) have been identified from the patients with acute or chronic liver diseases as possible agents of non- B, non-C hepatitis by two different groups, independently. To investigate whether GBV-C/HGV plays a role among Korean patient with liver diseases, GBV- C/HGV RNA were evaluated in 337 sera by the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using specific primers derived from 5'-noncoding region of GBV-C/HGV genome. GBV-C/HGV RNA was identified in 11/337 (3.3%). They consisted of 1/160 (0.6%) and 10/177 (3.3%) among the general population and patients with liver diseases, respectively (P<0.01). Nucleotide sequences of all PCR amplicons were determined by the dideoxy chain termination method and analyzed by molecular evolutionary methods. The phylogenetic tree showed all sequences could be divided into three genotypes. These results indicate that: (1) GBV-C/HGV already exist in Korea; (2) GBV-C/HGV may play some role as an etiologic factor among the Korean patients with liver diseases; (3) GBV-C/HGV infection is rare among Korean general population; and (4) there are at least three different types of GBV-C/HGV in Korea.
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