Table of Contents
Epidemiology Research International
Volume 2012, Article ID 856810, 10 pages
Review Article

Evolving Trends in the Hepatitis C Virus Molecular Epidemiology Studies: From the Viral Sequences to the Human Genome

1Instituto de Ciencias Básicas y Medicina Experimental (ICBME), Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, C1181ACH Buenos Aires, Argentina
2Unidad de Hepatología, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, C1181ACH Buenos Aires, Argentina

Received 30 November 2011; Accepted 16 January 2012

Academic Editor: K. Matsuo

Copyright © 2012 Julieta Trinks et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) represents a major worldwide public health problem. The search for the key molecular biomarkers that may provide insight on the basis of the differences in disease progression, severity, and response to therapy is crucial for understanding the natural history of HCV, for estimating the burden of infection and for developing preventive interventions. Initially, molecular epidemiology studies have focused on studying the viral genetic diversity (genotypes, genetic variants, specific nucleotide and amino acid substitutions). However, the clinical heterogeneities of HCV infection and the imperfect predictability of the response to treatment have suggested the need to search for host genetic biomarkers. This led to the discovery of genetic polymorphisms playing a major role in the evolution of infection, as well as in treatment response and adverse effects, such as IL-28B, ITPA, and IP-10. As a consequence, nowadays the focus of molecular epidemiology studies has turned from the viral to the human genome. This paper will cover recent reports on the subject describing the most relevant viral as well as host genetic risk factors analyzed by past and current HCV molecular epidemiology studies.