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Persistence of hepatitis C virus in a white population: associations with human leukocyte antigen class 1.The aim of this study was to define novel associations between human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class 1 alleles and persistence or clearance of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a white population. All individuals in the study were seropositive for anti-HCV antibodies. Viral status was determined by the Roche HCV Amplicor test. HLA-A, -B, -C allelic group profile was molecularly defined by reverse line probe hybridization. The strongest individual allelic group associations with persistent HCV infection were HLA A*11 (p = 0.044) and Cw*04 (p = 0.006). However, only the HLA C*04 association survived correction for multiple comparisons. Further analysis of alleles in linkage with HLA Cw*04 revealed that the haplotype HLA A*11, Cw*04 was present in 11 individuals, 10 of whom were viremic (p = 0.05). No gene dosage effect was observed. No association between HLA class 1 allelic groups and aviremia and virus load was evident in this white population. HLA B*44 is associated with low virus load in human immunodeficiency virus disease, but this association was not evident in this HCV-infected population. Novel HLA class 1 alleles associated with persistence of HCV have been identified.