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Abbott and UCSF discover human pegivirus 2 linked to HCV

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Posted: 14 December 2015 | Victoria White | No comments yet

Their research identified eight complete strains of human pegivirus 2, which makes it the first study to reveal the entire genetic makeup of this new virus…

Abbott and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have published research identifying a newly discovered human virus, known as human pegivirus 2, that has also been found among some patients with hepatitis C (HCV).

The research identified eight complete strains of human pegivirus 2, which makes it the first study to reveal the entire genetic makeup of this new virus. Although infection with this bloodborne virus was found to be tightly associated with HCV, it is not yet known whether this new virus can cause disease.

“Based on our findings, our team used the genetic makeup of the virus to develop both a molecular test for detecting it in the bloodstream and an antibody test for determining an immune response to the virus. Our next step is to explore whether this new virus can cause disease, and if so, work with blood banks to continue to help safeguard the world’s blood supply against these types of new viruses,” said John Hackett Jr., Ph.D., divisional vice president of applied research and technology at Abbott. 

Research provides insights into evolution of human pegivirus 2

This study was conducted by the UCSF-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Centre (VDDC). To identify the new virus, researchers used techniques for sequencing fragments of its genetic makeup, including deep sequencing and ultra-rapid pathogen identification technologies.

“By characterising eight complete genomes and four partial genomes of human pegivirus 2, this study provides new insights into the evolution and diversity of this virus in infected individuals,” said Dr Charles Chiu, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of laboratory medicine at UCSF and director of the UCSF-Abbott VDDC. “Discoveries like these are one of the reasons our partnership with Abbott is so important, as they provide us with information that push the boundaries of scientific knowledge and may have significant downstream implications with respect to human health.”

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