Newly-Identified Virus
May Cause Hepatitis
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A newly identified virus may be a cause of hepatitis, an infection of the liver, according to the DiaSorin Biomolecular Research Center in Brescia, Italy.
The virus is being called SEN-V, and is "highly associated with acute and chronic hepatitis,'' according to a statement issued by the Piscataway, New Jersey-based company.
SEN-V is blood-borne and may account for a significant portion of hepatitis cases not caused by known viruses, including hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E, which are linked to 80% to 90% of cases of hepatitis, DiaSorin officials said. The remaining 10% to 20% of cases can't be traced to a specific infectious agent.
The virus appears to be a pathogen, or disease-causing organism, said Dr. Harvey Alter, chief of the Infectious Diseases Section at the Department of Transfusion Medicine at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
"We find it in a significant proportion of patients with hepatitis of cryptogenic origin,'' said Alter in an interview with Reuters Health. "It's not A though E, and G and TT appear not to be pathogenic.''
Alter added that "it's a virus that's probably been around a long time, it's just been newly identified with the new technology.''
If further studies confirm that SEN-V can cause hepatitis, then "it will be another tool to account for some cases of hepatitis... and it could be a potential screening tool for blood,'' Alter said.