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Prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus Infection Among Voluntary Blood Donors from the Northeastern Region of Iran: Genotyping, Viral Load Characterization and Drug Resistance Prediction by Sadegh Abbasian, Zohreh Sharifi, Mahtab Maghsudlu

Background: Blood donor selection, along with laboratory screening of the HBV, plays a pivotal role in providing safe blood products. This study was aimed to evaluate the prevalence, genotype, and drug resistance prediction of HBV among Iranian blood donors.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 47,506 blood donors referring to Golestan Blood Center from March 21, 2018, to March 20, 2019. Siemens Enzyngnost HBsAg6, INNO-LiPA Genotyping kits, and Nest-PCR were used for HBV screening, genotyping, and amplification of the polymerase gene, respectively. An online tool at and real-time PCR method were also utilized for drug resistance prediction and viral load measurement respectively.
Results: It was found that from among 47,506 donors, 47 (0.09%) were confirmed to be HBV positive subjects. About 0.94% of first-time blood donors (46 out of 4, 872) and 0.008% of repeated blood donors (1 out of 12,125) were found to be positive for HBV. First-time blood donors were also 8.6 times more likely to have a hepatitis B virus infection (odds ratio: 9.6; 95% confidence interval, 6.2 - 14.7). Seven donors had genotype D as predominant and one case had a mixed infection with genotypes A and D. Furthermore, the most predicted mutation in the polymerase gene was m204V, causing resistance to telbivudine and lamivudine.
Conclusions: The results showed that the risk of HBV transmission is higher among first-time blood donors. Therefore, it is recommended that predonation laboratory screening in first-time blood donors be conducted to improve the safety of the donated blood in the studied region.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2020.200510