Assessment of hepatitis C virus RNA and genotype from 6807 patients with chronic hepatitis C in the United States

L. M. Blatt, M. G. Mutchnick, M. J. Tong, F. M. Klion, E. Lebovics, B. Freilich, N. Bach, C. Smith, J. Herrera, H. Tobias, A. Conrad, P. Schmid, John G. McHutchison

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA status and HCV genotype have become important tools in the diagnosis and monitoring of therapy in chronic HCV infection. To establish a database with respect to HCV genotype and serum HCV RNA concentrations in chronic hepatitis C patients in the United States, we analysed 6807 chronic hepatitis C patients who had HCV RNA and HCV genotype tests conducted at a central laboratory. The HCV RNA concentration cut-off for the lower 25th percentile of this population (low titre) was 0.9 x 106 copies ml-1. The median HCV RNA concentration was 3.5 x 106 copies ml-1 and the cut-off for the upper 25th percentile (high titre) was 5 x 106 copies ml-1. Male patients had a median HCV RNA concentration of 3.9 x 106 copies ml-1, which was significantly higher than the median HCV RNA level for females (2.75 x 106 copies ml-1; P < 0.001). HCV genotype I was detected in 73% of patients; genotype 2 in 14%; genotype 3 in 8%; mixed genotype in 4%; and genotypes 4, 5 and 6 with a frequency of < 1%. Patients from the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest had significantly (P < 0.001) more infections with genotype 1 than patients from the Western and Southern regions. African-American patients were more likely to be infected with genotype 1 when compared with Caucasian, Hispanic or Asian Pacific Islanders (P < 0.001). Patients infected with HCV genotype 1 and mixed HCV genotypes had significantly higher serum HCV RNA concentrations when compared with HCV genotypes 2 and 3 (P < 0.001 for all comparisons).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-202
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • HCV genotype
  • Hepatitis C
  • Serum HCV RNA


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