Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a widespread global pathogen, of which the strain KOS is one of the most extensively studied. Previous sequence studies revealed that KOS does not cluster with other strains of North American geographic origin, but instead clustered with Asian strains. We sequenced a historical isolate of the original KOS strain, called KOS63, along with a separately isolated strain attributed to the same source individual, termed KOS79. Genomic analyses revealed that KOS63 closely resembled other recently sequenced isolates of KOS and was of Asian origin, but that KOS79 was a genetically unrelated strain that clustered in genetic distance analyses with HSV-1 strains of North American/European origin. These data suggest that the human source of KOS63 and KOS79 could have been infected with two genetically unrelated strains of disparate geographic origins. A PCR RFLP test was developed for rapid identification of these strains.
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