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    Hepaciviruses represent a group of viruses that pose a significant threat to the health of humans and animals. During the last decade, new members of the genus Hepacivirus have been identified in various host species worldwide, indicating the widespread distribution of genetically diversified hepaciviruses among animals. By applying unbiased high-throughput sequencing, a novel hepacivirus, provisionally designated Hepacivirus Q, was discovered in duck liver samples collected in Guangdong province of China. Genetic analysis revealed that the complete polyprotein of Hepacivirus Q shares 23.9-46.6% amino acid identity with other representatives of the genus Hepacivirus. Considering the species demarcation criteria for hepaciviruses, Hepacivirus Q should be regarded as a novel hepacivirus species of the genus Hepacivirus within the family Flaviviridae. Phylogenetic analyses also indicate the large genetic distance between Hepacivirus Q and other known hepaciviruses. Molecular detection of this novel hepacivirus showed an overall prevalence of 15.9% in duck populations in partial areas of Guangdong province. These results expand knowledge about the genetic diversity and evolution of hepaciviruses and indicate that genetically divergent hepaciviruses are circulating in duck populations in China.


    Xue-Lian Zhang, Xin-Yan Yao, Yu-Qian Zhang, Zhi-Hang Lv, Hong Liu, Jing Sun, Jian-Wei Shao. A Highly Divergent Hepacivirus Identified in Domestic Ducks Further Reveals the Genetic Diversity of Hepaciviruses. Viruses. 2022 Feb 11;14(2)

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    PMID: 35215964

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