Nature of the Virus

In 1983, HAV was classified in the genus Enterovirus of the family Picornaviridae, on the basis of its biophysical and biochemical characteristics, including the stability at low pH. This pre-empted the isolation and analysis of complementary DNA clones that led to the determination of the entire nucleotide sequence of the viral genome.

There is limited sequence homology with the en-teroviruses and rhinoviruses, although the structure and genome organisation are typical of the picornaviruses. The virus is now classified in the genus Hepatovirus. There is only one human serotype of HAV and seven genotypes, but all human HAVs have a single im-munodominant epitope which is responsible for generating neutralising antibodies.

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