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Volume 26, Number 2—February 2020
In 1967, researchers studying non-A, non-B hepatitis identified a transmissible agent in the serum of a surgeon (initials G.B.) with acute hepatitis and named it the GB agent. In the 1990s, researchers from Abbott Laboratories identified 3 GB viruses (A, B, and C) at the same time as a group at Genelabs isolated RNA from patients with non-A, non-B hepatitis and named it hepatitis G virus. Later research showed that GB virus C and hepatitis G virus were the same species.
Subsequent phylogenetic analysis showed that GB viruses A and C (and GB virus D, later identified in bats) should be classified under a new genus, Pegivirus (because they cause persistent infection and because of the historic association with hepatitis G), and GB virus B should be classified as a second species (with hepatitis C virus) in the genus Hepacivirus. As of 2016, 11 species of Pegivirus had been identified (Pegivirus A–K).
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- Simons JN, Leary TP, Dawson GJ, Pilot-Matias TJ, Muerhoff AS, Schlauder GG, et al. Isolation of novel virus-like sequences associated with human hepatitis. Nat Med. 1995;1:564–9.
- Smith DB, Becher P, Bukh J, Gould EA, Meyers G, Monath T, et al. Proposed update to the taxonomy of the genera Hepacivirus and Pegivirus within the Flaviviridae family. J Gen Virol. 2016;97:2894–907.
- Stapleton JT, Foung S, Muerhoff AS, Bukh J, Simmonds P. The GB viruses: a review and proposed classification of GBV-A, GBV-C (HGV), and GBV-D in genus Pegivirus within the family Flaviviridae. J Gen Virol. 2011;92:233–46.
Original Publication Date: 1/7/2020