Time and Mode of Epidemic HCV-2 Subtypes Spreading in Europe: Phylodynamics in Italy and Albania

Erika Ebranati, Alessandro Mancon, Martina Airoldi, Silvia Renica, Renata Shkjezi, Pranvera Dragusha, Carla Della Ventura, Anna Rita Ciccaglione, Massimo Ciccozzi, Silvia Bino, Elisabetta Tanzi, Valeria Micheli (+3 others)
2021 Diagnostics  
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 2 causes about 10% of global infections and has the most variable circulation profile in Europe. The history of "endemic" HCV-2 subtypes has been satisfactorily reconstructed, instead there is little information about the recent spread of the "epidemic" subtypes, including HCV-2c. To investigate the origin and dispersion pathways of HCV-2c, 245 newly characterized Italian and Albanian HCV-2 NS5B sequences were aligned with 247 publicly available sequences and
more » ... le sequences and included in phylogeographic and phylodynamic analyses using the Bayesian framework. Our findings show that HCV-2c was the most prevalent subtype in Italy and Albania. The phylogeographic analysis suggested an African origin of HCV-2c before it reached Italy about in the 1940s. Phylodynamic analysis revealed an exponential increase in the effective number of infections and Re in Italy between the 1940s and 1960s, and in Albania between the 1990s and the early 2000s. It seems very likely that HCV-2c reached Italy from Africa at the time of the second Italian colonization but did not reach Albania until the period of dramatic migration to Italy in the 1990s. This study contributes to reconstructing the history of the spread of epidemic HCV-2 subtypes to Europe.
doi:10.3390/diagnostics11020327 pmid:33671355 fatcat:oxxslhov6rervekqyq7jdzvjf4