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Last Posted: Apr 03, 2023
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Mystery hepatitis cases in kids linked to unexpected viral suspect
J Kaiser, Science, May 25, 2022

Two preliminary studies finding adeno-associated viruses in pediatric hepatitis cases suggest a child’s genetic background and other viruses all act in concert. They used DNA and RNA sequencing of tissue samples from U.K. cases to look for about 200 different virus families. AAV2 jumped out. It was in liver or blood samples in all nine Scottish cases examined and 15 of 16 separate cases from all over the United Kingdom, according to the studies. In contrast, almost none of 158 controls, which included healthy children and children with hepatitis for known reasons, had AAV2. Both studies also found that all but two of 14 sick children tested carried a specific version of a type of gene called HLA that helps shape the body’s response to pathogens. The variant is particularly common in northern Europeans—16% of Scottish people carry it, and it is known to be linked to some autoimmune disorders.

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