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Molecular Epidemiology of HIV-1 virus in Egypt: A major change in the circulating subtypes


Ahmed Noby Amer*, Ahmed Gaballah, Rasha Emad, Abeer Ghazal and Nancy Attia  


Background: Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is characterized by high genetic diversity due to its high-mutation and recombination rates. Although, there is an increasing prevalence of circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) worldwide. Subtype B is still recognized as the predominant subtype in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. There is a limited sampling of HIV in this region due to its low prevalence. The main purpose of this study is to provide a summary of the current status of the resident HIV subtypes and their distribution among Egyptian patients.

Methodology: Forty-five HIV-1 patients were included in this study. Partial pol gene covering the protease (PR) and reverse transcriptase (RT) was successfully amplified in 21 HIV patients using nested PCR of cDNA of the viral genomic RNA, then sequenced. The sequence data were used for viral HIV-1 subtyping by 5 online subtyping tools: NCBI viral genotyping tool, Stanford University HIV database (HIVDB) subtyping program, REGA tool, Context-based modeling for expeditious typing (COMET) tool, and Recombinant identification program (RIP) tool. The final subtype assignment was based on molecular phylogenetic analysis.

Results: Unexpectedly, non-B subtypes are dominating with the most common circulating one is CRF02_AG (57.1%) followed by subtype B (14.3%), subtype BG recombinant (9.5%), CRF35_AD (9.5%), subtype A1 and CRF06_cpx (4.8 % each).

Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to tackle HIV-1 subtyping among the group of HIV-1 patients in Egypt. CRF02_AG is the most prevalent subtype in Egypt.


HIV-1 subtypes, Circulating recombinant forms, pol, phylogenetic analysis, Subtyping tools


Microbiology and Immunology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy and Drug Manufacturing, Pharos University, Microbiology Department, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Alexandria University Hospital, Alexandria University, Microbiology Department, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Microbiology Department, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University

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