Molecular characterisation of varicella zoster virus genotypes in Sri Lanka.
Lohitharajah J., Malavige GN., Wijewickrama A., Ambagawita A., Seneviratne ALP., Ogg G.
INTRODUCTION: Genotyping of wild type of varicella zoster virus (VZV) in Sri Lanka would help to distinguish the VZV wild type infection from varicella vaccine associated infections. METHODS: PCR-RFLP analysis of VZV ORF 38, 54 and 62 was used for genotyping in VZV from blood or vesicular fluid from 31 patients with chickenpox or herpes zoster. The PstI restriction site of ORF 38, BglI restriction site of ORF 54 and SmaI restriction site of ORF 62 were analyzed using RFLP to determine the genotype. RESULTS: Except for one strain, all other VZV isolates had the genotype characteristic of the wild type VZV strain PstI+BglI+ SmaI-, which was characteristic of the Asian strain. None of the isolates had the American or the European VZV profile (PstI+BglI-) but were similar to isolates from Africa and Asia (PstI+BglI+). Interestingly, one of the VZV strains isolated from a patient with chickenpox had the characteristic genotype of the vaccine strain PstI- BglI+ SmaI+. CONCLUSIONS: The genotype of the VZV in Sri Lanka is similar to the Asian VZV genotype and can be easily distinguished from the VZV vaccine strain by using the polymorphisms in ORF 38, ORF 54 and ORF 62.