S Ampurdanés

IDIBAPS August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute, Barcino, Catalonia, Spain

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Publications (34)171.29 Total impact

  • Journal of Hepatology - J HEPATOL. 01/2008; 48.
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    ABSTRACT: The quasispecies nature of hepatitis C virus (HCV) may have important implications concerning resistance to antiviral agents. To determine whether HCV NS5A quasispecies composition and dynamics are related to responsiveness to combined interferon (IFN) and ribavirin therapy, extensive sequence analyses of cloned RT-PCR amplification products of HCV-1b NS5A quasispecies of sequential isolates from 15 treated (nine sustained responders and six non-responders) and three untreated patients were performed. Accumulation of mutations in NS5A during therapy was relatively frequent in the V3 domain, but unusual elsewhere. Amino acid changes were the result of the imposition of minor variants that were already present before treatment and always occurred within the first week of therapy. Before treatment, the complexity and diversity of quasispecies were lower in isolates from responders than in those from non-responders, particularly in the V3 domain, where differences in nucleotide entropy (0.35 vs 0.64, P=0.003), genetic distance (0.0145 vs 0.0302, P=0.05) and non-synonymous substitutions (0.0102 vs 0.0203, P=0.036) were statistically significant. These differences became more apparent during treatment, because complexity and diversity remained stable or tended to increase in non-responders, whereas they tended to decrease in responders. These observations suggest that the composition and dynamics of HCV NS5A quasispecies, particularly in the V3 domain, may play a role in the response to combined IFN/ribavirin therapy.
    Journal of General Virology 05/2005; 86(Pt 4):1067-75. · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) have achieved a great development in western countries. However, their use among patients simultaneously treated by the mainstream medicine is largely unknown. Our goal was to assess how many patients with chronic hepatitis C treated in a tertiary hospital use or have used CAM. Analysis of the answers of 319 patients to a self-administered questionnaire. 113 (37%) patients had used or were using CAM, 63 (20%) because of chronic hepatitis and 50 (17%) for other reasons. Women, those with higher education, divorced and widows were those who more frequently used CAM. More than half of patients felt some subjective improvement, yet none of them normalized their serum transaminase activities. CAM are used by a high proportion of patients who are simultaneously attended by 'official' physicians. The perceived efficacy of these practices is high but no changes in the hepatic disease could be seen in any of the patients who answered the questionnaire.
    Medicina Clínica 04/2004; 122(9):334-5. · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background and objective Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) have achieved a great development in western countries. However, their use among patients simultaneously treated by the mainstream medicine is largely unknown. Our goal was to assess how many patients with chronic hepatitis C treated in a tertiary hospital use or have used CAM. Patients and method Analysis of the answers of 319 patients to a self-administered questionnaire. Results 113 (37%) patients had used or were using CAM, 63 (20%) because of chronic hepatitis and 50 (17%) for other reasons. Women, those with higher education, divorced and widows were those who more frequently used CAM. More than half of patients felt some subjective improvement, yet none of them normalized their serum transaminase activities. Conclusions CAM are used by a high proportion of patients who are simultaneously attended by ‘official’ physicians. The perceived efficacy of these practices is high but no changes in the hepatic disease could be seen in any of the patients who answered the questionnaire.
    Medicina Clinica - MED CLIN. 01/2004; 122(9):334-335.
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    ABSTRACT: Liver biopsy is required for staging hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C, but it is an expensive procedure with occasional complications and poor patient acceptance. This cohort study was designed to assess the accuracy of a noninvasive method aimed to discriminate between patients with and without significant liver fibrosis (stages 2-4 versus 0-1). Clinically relevant variables were analyzed in a cohort of 476 consecutive untreated patients (estimation group, 351 patients; validation group, 125 patients) with chronic hepatitis C who underwent a liver biopsy. Multivariate analysis identified age, gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), cholesterol, platelet count, and prothrombin time as independent predictors of fibrosis. We constructed a model and a score system combining age, GGT, cholesterol, and platelet count that proved useful to identify patients without significant hepatic fibrosis. The area under the ROC curve was 0.86 for the estimation group and 0.81 for the validation group. Using the best cutoff score (less than 4.2), presence of significant fibrosis (F2 to F4) could be excluded with high accuracy (negative predictive value of 96%) in 125 (36%) of 351 patients. Similarly, it could be excluded with the same certainty in 49 (39%) of the 125 patients of the validation group. Only 2 patients with liver fibrosis stage 2 were incorrectly classified. In conclusion, a combination of easily accessible variables accurately predicts the absence of significant fibrosis and might render liver biopsy unnecessary in more than one third of patients with chronic hepatitis C.
    Hepatology 11/2002; 36(4 Pt 1):986-92. · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) is now widely used in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Few patients have been reported as developing impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes mellitus (DM) using this therapy. The explanation for the development of DM in chronic hepatitis C treated with IFN-alpha is unclear. We report two patients who developed an abrupt onset of diabetes during IFN-alpha for chronic hepatitis C. Two male middle-aged patients were admitted to our hospital for an abrupt onset of diabetes, in diabetic ketoacidosis, with a very short duration of hyperglycaemic symptoms. Their clinical course was similar. Case 1 never demonstrated any markers of pancreatic immunogenicity. Case 2 had high levels of decarboxylase glutamic acid autoantibodies (GADAb), before the IFN-alpha treatment that persisted. We compared initial beta-cell function and metabolic control with a group of middle-aged patients from our hospital who had recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1). In contrast to these, the onset of the disease was particularly severe with beta-cell function substantially impaired and displaying unstable short-term metabolic control. Type 1 diabetes should be considered as a potential complication if IFN is administered to patients with chronic hepatitis C. Its onset may be severe and result in short-term difficulties in metabolic control.
    Diabetic Medicine 10/2001; 18(9):764-7. · 3.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two genomic regions of hepatitis C virus (HCV), the interferon sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) of the non-structural 5A gene (NS5A) and the protein kinase-RNA activated (PKR)-eukariotic transcription factor (eIF2-alpha) phosphorylation homology domain (PePHD) of the structural E2 gene, interact in vitro with the interferon-inducible cellular PKR protein kinase. Mutations within these regions might, therefore, influence the response to interferon therapy. Viral load at baseline and sequence heterogeneity of HCV in NS5A and E2 regions was studied in 74 HCV-1b and in 12 HCV-3a infected patients with chronic hepatitis C who were treated with interferon. As previously reported by us, in a smaller series of patients in which the ISDR region was analyzed [Saiz et al. (1998) Journal Infectious Diseases 177:839-847], in the present study a low viral load and a high number of amino acid mutations within the ISDR, but not within the PePHD region, were significantly associated with long-term response to interferon among HCV-1b infected patients. No relationship between these viral features and response to therapy was disclosed in patients infected with HCV-3a.
    Journal of Medical Virology 10/2001; 65(1):35-44. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The natural history of chronic hepatitis C (HCV) is not completely understood. This study was aimed to evaluate the long-term outcome of the disease over a prolonged period of time and to identify factors associated with progression. One hundred and sixteen patients with non-cirrhotic chronic non-A, non-B hepatitis consecutively diagnosed at a tertiary hospital between 1971 and 1977 were followed until December 1998 or until death. Patients with significant alcohol intake were excluded from the study. Variables obtained at the time of diagnosis, including epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and histological data were recorded to determine risk factors associated with the development of liver cirrhosis and hepatic decompensation. Based on complete follow-up data, the development of liver cirrhosis and hepatic decompensation was evaluated in 94 and 114 of the 116 patients, respectively. Thirty-seven (39.3%) of 94 patients developed liver cirrhosis; an aspartate aminotransferase (AST) value higher than 70 IU/L was associated with development of cirrhosis (odds ratio (OR) 4.22, 95% CI 1.3-13.8). Hepatic decompensation occurred in 12 (10.5%) of 114 patients, its cumulative probability being 2.8% at 10 years, 5.2% at 15 years and 19.8% at 20 years. The only factor independently associated to the development of hepatic decompensation was the presence of fibrosis (stage 2 or 3) in the initial liver biopsy (OR 4.1, IC 95% 1.22-13.9). Liver-related death occurred only in seven (6%) of 114 patients. In comparison with the 116 patients diagnosed in the 1970's, patients with chronic hepatitis C diagnosed in 1999 were younger, more often asymptomatic, had lower AST and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values and had significantly lower grade and stage histological scores. In summary, chronic hepatitis C had a high rate of progression to liver cirrhosis over a prolonged follow-up. However, this might be related to the fact that two decades ago the diagnosis was made at a significantly more advanced stage of the disease. Patients at high risk of progression can be identified by biochemical and histological variables at the time of diagnosis.
    Journal of Hepatology 09/2001; 35(2):265-71. · 9.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two genomic regions of hepatitis C virus (HCV), the interferon sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) of the non-structural 5A gene (NS5A) and the protein kinase-RNA activated (PKR)-eukariotic transcription factor (eIF2-α) phosphorylation homology domain (PePHD) of the structural E2 gene, interact in vitro with the interferon-inducible cellular PKR protein kinase. Mutations within these regions might, therefore, influence the response to interferon therapy. Viral load at baseline and sequence heterogeneity of HCV in NS5A and E2 regions was studied in 74 HCV-1b and in 12 HCV-3a infected patients with chronic hepatitis C who were treated with interferon. As previously reported by us, in a smaller series of patients in which the ISDR region was analyzed [Saiz et al. (1998) Journal Infectious Diseases 177:839–847], in the present study a low viral load and a high number of amino acid mutations within the ISDR, but not within the PePHD region, were significantly associated with long-term response to interferon among HCV-1b infected patients. No relationship between these viral features and response to therapy was disclosed in patients infected with HCV-3a. J. Med. Virol. 65:35–44, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Journal of Medical Virology 07/2001; 65(1):35 - 44. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Interferon therapy may decrease the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver cirrhosis. Interaction of the cellular protein kinase PKR with the PKR-binding domain (PKR-bd) of HCV-NS5A protein may affect cellular growth control and viral resistance to interferon therapy. Mutations within the PKR-bd, which comprises the interferon sensitivity determining region (ISDR), have been associated with interferon sensitivity. To determine whether or not there is an association between HCV heterogeneity and the presence of hepatocellular carcinoma, HCV-1b genomic regions were amplified and directly sequenced from serum samples obtained from 82 patients with liver cirrhosis, 53 with, and 29 without hepatocellular carcinoma. None of them had received antiviral therapy. When compared with the deduced consensus sequence, the median number of amino acid changes in the PKR-bd was higher among samples from patients with (4.22) than from those without hepatocellular carcinoma (1.62; P <.001), and isolates with 3 or more amino acid changes were significantly more common among the former (60%) than among the later (6%, P <.001). No such differences were observed in other viral regions, including Core, E2-HVR-1, E2-PePHD, NS3, and the 5' and 3' PKR-bd flanking regions. In addition, amino acid variation in viral regions other than HVR-1 did not accumulate over time in the analyzed sequential serum samples obtained from patients with or without hepatocellular carcinoma. Therefore, a mutated HCV-PKR-bd phenotype is very common in cirrhotic patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
    Hepatology 07/2001; 34(1):158-67. · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The epidemiology and clinical features of chronic GBV-C/HGV infection have largely been explored, but there is little information about the mechanisms enabling GBV-C/HGV to cause persistent infection. Since analysis of the genomic variation of GBV-C/HGV under interferon pressure might provide some insight into this issue, we analyzed the nucleotide sequence variation of the 5'NC and NS3 regions in GBV-C/HGV isolates obtained sequentially from seven patients co-infected with HCV and treated with interferon. A reduction of GBV-C/HGV-RNA serum level below the detection limit of the RT-PCR assay was observed during treatment in all patients, but upon interferon withdrawal, viral RNA remained undetectable in only two patients. Among the five patients who did not clear GBV-C/HGV-RNA, viral strains emerging after treatment were identical to those present at baseline in three cases. In a further case, in whom GBV-C/HGV-RNA re-emerged during therapy (breakthrough episode), several mutations appeared in relapse samples. In the remaining patient, with a mixed infection before therapy, only one of the two GBV-C/HGV strains present at baseline was detected upon treatment withdrawal. These data raise the possibility that positive selection may act over GBV-C/HGV genome during interferon therapy, and contribute to persistence of infection with this virus.
    Antiviral Research 06/2000; 46(2):157-70. · 3.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The natural history of liver fibrosis in 47 untreated patients with chronic hepatitis C and no cirrhosis, as well as the factors associated with its progression, were evaluated by examining two consecutive liver biopsies, separated by an average interval of 64.8 +/- 62.9 months (12-244). In all the biopsies, the degree of necroinflammation and the stage of fibrosis were determined on a scale from 0+ to 4+. In 53% of the patients, liver fibrosis did not progress. The interval between biopsies was significantly higher in those who progressed from one stage to another (85 +/- 77 months) than in those who did not (41 +/- 27 months), p = 0.014. Two factors were independently associated with a greater risk of fibrosis progression: a history of daily alcohol intake > or = 80 g (p = 0.02) and having acquired an infection through a known parenteral mechanism such as blood transfusion, major surgery or hemodialysis (p = 0.018). Necroinflammation was significantly diminished in the second biopsy due to a lesser necrosis and inflammation of the lobules. In conclusion: a) liver fibrosis progression is independent of necroinflammation; b) progression is related to the duration of the disease and with the mechanism of transmission, and c) it is aggravated by excessive alcohol consumption.
    Gastroenterología y Hepatología 02/2000; 23(1):1-6. · 0.57 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Hepatology - J HEPATOL. 01/2000; 32:98-98.
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    ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Alpha interferon administration is quite disappointing as a single therapy in chronic hepatitis C. A brief course of corticosteroid therapy might increase the effectiveness of subsequent alpha interferon administration, but data on this issue are controversial.Methods: One hundred and fifty-six consecutive patients with chronic hepatitis C were randomly assigned to be treated blined with tapering doses of oral prednisolone or placebo for 4 weeks. Two weeks after cessation of therapy, patients received alpha interferon (3 MU t.i.w.) for 48 weeks and were followed for 24 additional weeks. Response was defined by the presence of normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and negative HCV-RNA in serum.Results: ALT activity decreased during prednisolone administration and rebounded upon withdrawal in 38% of the patients treated with this drug. Significant changes in serum bilirubin were not observed. HCV-RNA serum concentration tended to increase during prednisolone administration and to decrease upon withdrawal. ALT and HCV-RNA did not change during administration of placebo. At the end of interferon administration, 33% of patients treated with prednisolone and 25% of those treated with placebo presented biochemical and virological response. At the end of post-treatment follow-up, response was maintained in 12% and 13% of patients treated with prednisolone or placebo, respectively. Response was not related to ALT or HCV-RNA changes observed during the pre-interferon phase of the study. No adverse events related to prednisolone administration were observed.Conclusions: Prednisolone administration and withdrawal induced a rebound in ALT activity and a decrease in HCV-RNA serum concentration in about one third of the patients with chronic hepatitis C. However, these changes did not enhance the effectiveness of subsequent alpha interferon therapy.
    Journal of Hepatology 01/2000; 33(1):135-141. · 9.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A recently identified DNA virus, termed TT virus (TTV), has been associated with post-transfusional hepatitis, and a high prevalence of TTV infection in patients with acute or chronic liver disease of unknown etiology has been reported from Japan, but few data are available about TTV infection in other countries. Using hemi-nested-PCR amplification to detect TTV-DNA sequences in serum, we investigated TTV infection in blood donors and in patients with liver diseases of varied etiology. The prevalence of TTV infection was 13.7% in blood donors (23/168), 18.6% in chronic hepatitis C (19/102), 28.6% in chronic hepatitis B (16/56), 29.9% in hepatocellular carcinoma (20/67), 9.1% in cryptogenic chronic liver disease (2/22) and 39.6% in fulminant hepatitis (19/48). The prevalence of TTV infection in patients with virus-induced or idiopathic fulminant hepatitis was similar. Comparison of TTV-infected and non-infected patients did not reveal significant differences concerning demographic, epidemiological or histopathological features. In patients with hepatitis C, response to interferon therapy was not related to TTV infection. Phylogenetic analysis of TTV isolates showed that at least three different types of TTV are present in Spain. Our data suggest that TTV infection is frequent among blood donors and patients with acute liver disease. However, pathogenic effects associated with TTV infection were not observed.
    Journal of Hepatology 07/1999; 30(6):1028-34. · 9.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A modified competitive RT-PCR (mcRT-PCR) to measure HCV RNA in serum and the Amplicor HCV Monitor assay were compared. For mcRT-PCR, the RNA extracted was retrotranscribed and coamplified in one step with a known amount of a DNA internal control (IC). Digoxigenin-labeled amplified products were hybridized to specific HCV DNA and IC-DNA probes and quantified by colorimetry. HCV RNA concentration was calculated by plotting the ratio of HCV/IC ODs against a calibration curve. Multiple samples were analyzed in the same round and tedious titration of each sample with a competitor was unnecessary. The mcRT-PCR assay was linear from 6 x 10(3) to 6 x 10(7) copies/ml, whereas Amplicor was linear up to 1-2 x 10(6) copies/ml. HCV RNA was measured in samples from 75 carriers. There was agreement between both methods in type 1 infections but not in type 2 or type 3 infections, in which the values measured by Amplicor were, on average, 15 times lower than those measured by the mcRT-PCR. HCV RNA measured by Amplicor was higher in type 1 infections than in type 2 or 3 infections, but no differences were found when viral load was assessed by mcRT-PCR. The binding efficiency of the Amplicor-probe was greater for type 1 than for types 2 or 3, suggesting Amplicor underestimates the viral load in the latter types. In contrast, the mcRT-PCR is not affected by genotype-related variation of HCV. This study suggests that mcRT-PCR assay is reliable for sensitive and accurate measurement of HCV RNA over a broad range of values independently of the HCV genotype.
    Journal of Medical Virology 06/1999; 58(1):35-43. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In patients with chronic hepatitis C, the influence of the genetic heterogeneity of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) on the progression of liver disease and on the responsiveness to interferon therapy is a matter of controversy. In this study we evaluated the genetic complexity of HCV by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis of amplicons from the hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) in 168 patients with chronic genotype 1b HCV infection, of whom 122 received a single course of interferon therapy (3 MU, three times weekly for 6 months). No correlation was observed between the degree of genetic complexity of HCV (indicated by the number of bands in the SSCP assay) and patient age, serum alanine aminotransferase activity, or serum HCV-RNA concentration, measured by competitive polymerase chain reaction. HCV genomic complexity was not related to gender nor to the presumed source of infection. The number of SSCP bands detected in serum samples from patients with chronic hepatitis, either mild (8.1 +/- 3.9), moderate (8.0 +/- 3.3), or severe (9.2 +/- 3.3), and in patients with liver cirrhosis, either compensated (8.0 +/- 2.9), decompensated (6.3 +/- 2.9), or with superimposed hepatocellular carcinoma (9.5 +/- 2.9), was similar. The number of SSCP bands detected in patients with sustained response (7.5 +/- 3. 9), transient response (8.3 +/- 2.9), or no response (8.2 +/- 3.6) to interferon administration was similar as well. These observations suggest that the genetic complexity of hypervariable region (HVR1) of HCV, as estimated by SSCP analysis, is not related to the severity of liver injury nor to the type of response to interferon therapy. Thus, information offered by SSCP analysis of HVR1 of HCV in chronic HCV genotype 1b infection does not appear to be useful in the clinical management of these patients. (HEPATOLOGY 1999;29:897-903.)
    Hepatology 04/1999; 29(3):897-903. · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A modified competitive RT-PCR (mcRT-PCR) to measure HCV RNA in serum and the Amplicor HCV Monitor assay were compared. For mcRT-PCR, the RNA extracted was retrotranscribed and coamplified in one step with a known amount of a DNA internal control (IC). Digoxigenin-labeled amplified products were hybridized to specific HCV DNA and IC-DNA probes and quantified by colorimetry. HCV RNA concentration was calculated by plotting the ratio of HCV/IC ODs against a calibration curve. Multiple samples were analyzed in the same round and tedious titration of each sample with a competitor was unnecessary. The mcRT-PCR assay was linear from 6 × 103 to 6 × 107 copies/ml, whereas Amplicor was linear up to 1–2 × 106 copies/ml. HCV RNA was measured in samples from 75 carriers. There was agreement between both methods in type 1 infections but not in type 2 or type 3 infections, in which the values measured by Amplicor were, on average, 15 times lower than those measured by the mcRT-PCR. HCV RNA measured by Amplicor was higher in type 1 infections than in type 2 or 3 infections, but no differences were found when viral load was assessed by mcRT-PCR. The binding efficiency of the Amplicor-probe was greater for type 1 than for types 2 or 3, suggesting Amplicor underestimates the viral load in the latter types. In contrast, the mcRT-PCR is not affected by genotype-related variation of HCV. This study suggests that mcRT-PCR assay is reliable for sensitive and accurate measurement of HCV RNA over a broad range of values independently of the HCV genotype. J. Med. Virol. 58:35–43, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Journal of Medical Virology 03/1999; 58(1):35 - 43. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA serum concentration, quasispecies complexity, and sequence and phylogenetic analysis of the nonstructural 5A gene (NS5A) interferon sensitivity determining region (ISDR) were determined in pretreatment serum samples from 47 patients with chronic hepatitis C (36 infected by HCV genotype 1b and 11 by 3a). Among HCV genotype 1b-infected patients, virus load was lower (P = .003) and the number of NS5A-ISDR amino acid changes was higher (P = .001) in long-term responders than in non-long-term responders, but there were no differences in quasispecies complexity. Multivariate analysis showed a close association between response to interferon and NS5A-ISDR phenotype. Phylogenetic analysis showed that isolates from non-long-term responders clustered apart from the majority of isolates from long-term responders. There was no association between virologic features and therapeutic response in HCV genotype 3a-infected patients. In conclusion, low virus load and mutant NS5A-ISDR phenotype are closely associated with long-term response to interferon in HCV genotype 1b- but probably not in 3a-infected patients.
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 04/1998; 177(4):839-47. · 5.85 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Hepatology - J HEPATOL. 01/1998; 28:44-44.

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1k Citations
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171.29 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001
    • IDIBAPS August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 1996–2001
    • University of Barcelona
      • Departament de Medicina
      Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
  • 1998
    • Southern Medical Clinic
      San Fernando, City of San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago
  • 1995–1997
    • Hospital Clínic de Barcelona
      • Servicio de Hepatología
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain