Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has a major effect on health care systems, with about one-third of the world’s population currently infected with the virus. There is an effective vaccine against HBV, which contains a recombinant “surface antigen” produced in an expression vector. Vaccination has proved to be successful in Hungary: the number of acute HBV cases has decreased in the past 10 years. Although an increasing number of publications report on “vaccine-escape” HBV variants which can infect HBV-vaccinated individuals, such mutant HBV strains have not yet been detected in Hungary. We therefore surveyed two risk groups for vaccine-escape or immunoglobulin-escape HBV mutations in Hungary: 28 actively and/or passively HBV-immunized children of HBV carrier mothers who proved to be HBsAg and/or anti-HBc positive and 40 symptomless HBV carrier pregnant women (presumably carrying genotype B or C). We focused on the coding sequences of the “a” immundominant region of the surface protein. We could not detect the G145R amino acid substitution associated with vaccine escape mutant virus. However, we could map other mutations potentially affecting the immunodominant “a” region of the HBV surface protein.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2008
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