Asthma is a chronic disease with multiple environmental and genetic causes. Determining the role of rhinovirus in asthma incidence and exacerbation could improve the controlling measures for this disease. This study aims to detect and genotype human rhinovirus (HRV) in asthmatic patients in Iraqi population. A total of 45 patients with asthma participated in this study. Viral RNA was extracted from nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) and cDNA was created using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Specific primers for HRV were used with two rounds nested-PCR to amplify the 5’-noncoding region of the viral genome. PCR products of the second round nested-PCR underwent direct sequencing and the resultant sequences were aligned with reference sequences in GenBank. MEGA 5 software was used to construct phylogenetic tree between eight successfully sequenced isolates and eight reference isolates. Alignment of viral sequence revealed highly genetic diversity between these sequences and the reference isolates. Phylogenetic tree showed that five isolates belong to Human Rhinovirus- A (HRV-A), while three isolate belong to Human Rhinovirus-C (HRV-C). The HRV-C was detected and genotyped for the first time in Iraq. The results of the current study suggest the significant role of HRV infection among patients with exacerbated asthma in Iraq.
Key words: Human rhinovirus, genotyping, asthma exacerbation.
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