Parts of 5' non-coding (5' NC) and of E1 envelope regions of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome were amplified from sera of 26 Brazilian anti-HCV antibody-positive patients using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Fourteen samples were PCR positive with primers from the 5' NC region and 8 of them were also positive with primers from the E1 region. A genomic segment of 176 bp from the E1 region of 7 isolates was directly sequenced from PCR products. The sequences were compared with those of HCV strains isolated in other countries and the Brazilian isolates were classified by phylogenetic analysis into genotypes 1a and 1b. This could have a clinical importance since it has been shown that individuals infected with type 1 viruses are less likely to respond to treatment with interferon than individuals infected with types 2 and 3 viruses. Two quasispecies isolated from the same patient with an interval of 13 months differed by two base substitutions (1.1%). The sequence of another isolate presented a three-nucleotide deletion at codon 32
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