You are cordially invited to the Bioinformatics Colloquium next Tuesday afternoon, March 25, 2014 from 4:30- 6:00pm in Bull Run Hall #249, Prince William Campus.


Maysa Azzeh, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor 

Head, Virology Research Laboratory
Director, Medical Research Center
Al-Quds University 
Abu-Dies, East Jerusalem 

Title:"HBV status in Palestine, genetic analysis of HBV in carriers and immunogenecity among children of the vaccination era"

HBV is the leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide.  Palestine is considered an area of intermediate endemicity as part of the Middle East.  We analyzed HBV markers test results performed at the referral hospital in Palestine, Al-Makassed Islamic charity hospital (MICH) to determine an accurate prevalence of HBV infection in Palestine.  Furthermore, we performed molecular analysis on the S and Polymerase genes of HBV virus isolated from 40 Palestinian patients to determine dominant subgenotypes and mutations occurring in the S and Polymerase genes.  We also tested over 400 Palestinian children, vaccinated as infants against HBV infection for antibodies against HBsAg (marker for HBV infection).  The genotyping results of the S gene showed that HBV D1 was the most prominent subgenotype among Palestinians carrying HBV.  Various mutations existed within the S gene including known escape mutations, which can result in vaccine failure.  Although all patients were treatment-naïve, with the exception of one, several mutations were found in the HBV polymerase gene, but none pointed to drug resistance.  The immunity of Palestinian children against HBsAg decreased by age, in agreement with studies performed in different parts of the world.  The genotyping results are in agreement with regional studies.  Mutation analysis however reveals a high mutation rate indicating a strong selection effect on HBV strains circulating in the studied Palestinian patients.  Finally our data strongly suggest introducing a booster HBV vaccine dose for children at the age of six, as is the case for MMR and DT. 

Linda D. Chilin
Administrative Assistant