Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The molecular epidemiology of HCV and related viruses in Africa
Author: Iles, James C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 8441
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes severe illness in millions of people worldwide, but the epidemic strains responsible for most infections arose within the past hundred years and represent only a small part of total HCV diversity. In this thesis I combine laboratory and computational methods to study HCV in Africa. I aim to characterize its current genetic diversity and its historical transmission prior to the global HCV epidemic. In Chapter 2 I begin by screening samples from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for HCV and the related human pegivirus. I find high HCV sequence diversity, including a putative new subtype, and find significantly higher HCV prevalence in those born before 1950. Chapter 3 continues this screening, and combines the sequences obtained with those from online databases. Using molcular clock methods I estimate that genotype 4 originated in central Africa around 1733, and that multiple lineages, including subtype 4a which dominates the HCV epidemic in Egypt, have moved to north Africa since ~1850. In Chapter 4 I analyse sequences sampled from an elderly population in Kinshasa to estimate HCV’s transmission history there during the 20th century. The results indicate a rapid increase in HCV transmission between 1950 and 1970 in multiple independent lineages. Possible causes of this increase are discussed. This study population also exhibits high HCV genetic diversity, including the second genotype 7 sample discovered to date. Finally, Chapter 5 uses a range of sequencing techniques, including RNAseq, to characterise two putative HCV recombinants from Cameroon. I confirm that both sequences are recombinants, and generate a full genome sequence for one. I also develop new tools to distinguish between dual infection and recombination in next-generation sequencing data, and discuss how recombination might affect HCV diversity and treatment.
Supervisor: Pybus, Oliver G.; Klenerman, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Disease (zoology) ; Hepatitis C Virus ; phylogenetics ; phylogeography ; recombination ; emergence