BBVU offers laboratory reference services for hepatitis viruses. The unit also carries out research and development on hepatitis viruses to improve blood safety.

About Blood borne viruses unit (BBVU)

BBVU is engaged in research and development on hepatitis viruses and works closely with the seromolecular services unit (SSU) at Public Health England (PHE) and with the NHS Blood and Transplant Service (NHSBT).

Some of the BBVU’s work is around improving blood safety. This is funded by NHSBT and members of the unit work closely with colleagues in the NHSBT and PHE epidemiology unit.

Services available

BBVU provide reference services for:

  • hepatitis A (HAV) RNA detection and phylogenetic
  • hepatitis B (HBV) sequencing and phylogenetics
  • HBV antiviral resistance testing by sequencing
  • screening for HBV HBsAg mutation by sequencing
  • screening for HBV pre-core and BCP mutation by sequencing
  • hepatitis C (HCV) sequencing and phylogenetics
  • real time hepatitis D (HDV) RNA detection
  • real time hepatitis E (HEV) RNA detection
  • HEV RNA detection and phylogenetics from plasma
  • outbreak/transmission investigation for HAV, HBV, HCV and HEV

For HBV sequencing requests, use the S10 request form.

For information on other hepatitis virus investigations, contact SSU.

BBVU diagnostic development activities

Activities include:

  • development of NGS methods for HBV and HEV whole genome sequencing
  • optimisation of non-amplification based methods for NGS
  • development of triple Ag assay on Luminex platform
  • development of in-house HTLV 1 and 2 taqman assay

BBVU surveillance activities

Activities include:

  • molecular epidemiology of acute HAV infections in the UK
  • molecular epidemiology of acute HBV cases infections in the UK
  • enhanced surveillance of acute HBV (project SHBVACU)
  • HBV avidity testing
  • HBV sequence database, HepSEQ
  • molecular characterisation studies into mother to baby HBV transmission
  • genotyping of HCV sero-converters
  • molecular characterisation of HDV infections in England and Wales
  • enhanced surveillance of HEV

BBVU research activities

Activities include:

  • generation of HEV genotype 1 and 3 VLP using the baculovirus expression system
  • understanding the risk of HEV to blood safety
  • establishment of 2D and 3D tissue culture models for HEV infection studies
  • in silico modelling of HEV ORF2 protein
  • investigating the potential of murine gamma retroviruses to cross species barriers into human cells in culture
  • investigations into concomitant HEV infections within households

BBVU guidance and forms

Contact BBVU

Blood borne viruses unit (BBVU)

Public Health England
61 Colindale Avenue