Co‑prevalence of human Papillomaviruses (HPV) and Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) in healthy blood donors from diverse nationalities in Qatar
Al Moustafa, Ala‑Eddin
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Background: Infections by both human oncoviruses, human Papillomaviruses (HPV) and Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) are very common in the adult human population and are associated with various malignancies. While HPV is generally transmitted sexually or via skin-to-skin contact, EBV is frequently transmitted by oral secretions, blood transfusions and organ transplants. This study aims to determine the prevalence and circulating genotypes of HPV and EBV in healthy blood donors in Qatar. Methods: We explored the co-prevalence of high-risk HPVs and EBV in 378 males and only 7 females blood donors of different nationalities (mainly from Qatar, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Pakistan, and India) residing in Qatar, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). DNA was extracted from the buffy coat and genotyping was performed using PCR and nested- PCR targeting E6 and E7 as well as LMP-1 of HPV and EBV, respectively. Results: We found that from the total number of 385 cases of healthy blood donors studied, 54.8% and 61% of the samples are HPVs and EBV positive, respectively. Additionally, our data revealed that the co-presence of both high-risk HPVs and EBV is 40.4% of the total samples. More significantly, this study pointed out for the first time that the most frequent high-risk HPV types in Qatar are 59 (54.8%), 31 (53.7%), 52 (49.1%), 51 (48.6%), 58 (47%) and 35 (45.5%), while the most commonly expressed low-risk HPV types are 53 (50.6%), 11 (45.5), 73 (41.7%) and 6 (41.3%), with all the cases showing multiple HPVs infection. Conclusion: In this study, we demonstrated for the first time that HPV and EBV are commonly co-present in healthy blood donors in Qatar. On the other hand, it is important to highlight that these oncoviruses can also be co-present in several types of human cancers where they can cooperate in the initiation and/or progression of these cancers. Therefore, more studies regarding the co-presence of these oncoviruses and their interaction are necessary to understand their cooperative role in human diseases.