Implementation of next-generation sequencing for hepatitis B virus resistance testing and genotyping in the St. Paul’s Hospital virology laboratory

January 8, 2016

left to right: Dr. Gordon Ritchie, Dr. Christopher Lowe, Linda Merrick

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is one of the leading causes of chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Knowledge of the HBV genotype and drug resistance mutations can assist in the management of chronic hepatitis B, preventing the development of complications and improving prognosis.

Dr. Christopher Lowe, Dr. Chris Sherlock, Dr. Gordon Ritchie, and Linda Merrick from the St. Paul’s Hospital virology laboratory, in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, and BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS have validated a next-generation sequencing approach to determine genotype and drug-resistance of the hepatitis B virus.  Implementation of this test provides improved detection of drug resistant mutations and more accurate genotyping.  This offers the potential to provide earlier identification of drug resistance so that treatment for patients with chronic HBV can be tailored to the most effective antiviral agent.