Presence of human hepegivirus-1 in a cohort of people who inject drugs

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Annals of Internal Medicine


Next-generation metagenomic sequencing (NGMS) has opened new frontiers in microbial discovery but has been clinically characterized in only a few settings.



To explore the plasma virome of persons who inject drugs and to characterize the sensitivity and accuracy of NGMS compared with quantitative clinical standards.



Next-generation metagenomic sequencing generated a total of 600 million reads, which included the expected HIV and HCV RNA sequences. HIV and HCV reads were consistently identified only when samples contained more than 10 000 copies/mL or IU/mL, respectively, as determined by quantitative PCR. A novel RNA virus, human hepegivirus-1 (HHpgV-1), was also detected by NGMS in 4 samples from 2 persons in the clinical trial. Through use of a quantitative PCR assay for HHpgV-1, infection was also detected in 17 (10.9%) of 156 members of a cohort of persons who injected drugs. In these persons, HHpgV-1 viremia persisted for a median of at least 4538 days and was associated with detection of other bloodborne viruses, such as HCV RNA and SEN virus D.


Kandathil AJ, Breitwieser FP, Sachithanandham J, Robinson M, Mehta SH, Timp W, Salzberg SL, Thomas DL, Balagopal A. Presence of human hepegivirus-1 in a cohort of people who inject drugs, Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 6 June 2017] doi: 10.7326/M17-0085. PMID: 28586923.