Genetic characterization of hemagglutinin (HA) gene of influenza A viruses circulating in Southwest India during 2017 season

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Virus Genes


Molecular surveillance of influenza viruses is essential for early detection of novel variants. The aim of the present study was to analyze the hemagglutinin gene of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2) viruses circulating during the 2017 season. To investigate the genetic diversity of hemagglutinin gene of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2) viruses from 2017 season, ten samples from each subtype were sequenced and analyzed. The season was predominated by influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses. Ten samples were sequenced from each subtype and all sequenced influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2) viruses belonged to clades 6B.1 and 3C.2a, respectively. Sequence analysis of H1 gene in comparison to 2010–2016 vaccine strain showed mutations K166Q and S188T (K180Q and S202T here) that most likely resulted in antigenic drift and emergence of variant viruses. H3 gene substitutions N137K, N187K, I422V, and G500E that define clade 3C.2a1 were detected during analysis of sequences in comparison to 2017–2018 vaccine strain of northern hemisphere. These substitutions contributed to the change of WHO’s recommendation of the 2018–2019 vaccine strain for northern hemisphere. The results of this study provide insights about the continuous genetic variability of the HA gene.

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