Genetic Analysis of HA1 Domain of Influenza A/H3N2 Viruses Isolated in Kenya During the 2007 to 2013 Seasons Reveal Significant Divergence from WHO-Recommended Vaccine Strains

Citation:
Nyang'au EM, Bulimo WD, Mobegi V, Opanda S, Magiri E. Genetic Analysis of HA1 Domain of Influenza A/H3N2 Viruses Isolated in Kenya During the 2007 to 2013 Seasons Reveal Significant Divergence from WHO-Recommended Vaccine Strains. Int J Infect Dis. 2020.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Influenza viruses evolve rapidly and cause regular seasonal epidemics in humans challenging effective vaccination. The virus surface HA glycoprotein is the primary target for the host immune response. Here, we investigated the vaccine efficacy and evolution patterns of human influenza A/H3N2 viruses that circulated in Kenyan in the period before and after the 2009 A/H1N1 pandemic, targeting the HA1 domain. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A hundred and fifteen HA sequences of Kenyan virus viruses were analyzed relative to the corresponding WHO vaccine reference strains using bioinformatics approaches. RESULTS: Our analyses revealed varied amino acid substitutions at all the five antigenic sites (A-E) of the HA1 domain, with a majority the changes occurring at sites A and B. The Kenyan A/H3N2 viruses isolated during 2007/2008 seasons belonged to A/Brisbane/10/2007- like viruses lineage, while those circulating in 2009 to 2012 belonged to the lineage of A/Victoria/361/2011-like viruses. The 2013 viruses clustered in clade 3C.3 of the A/Samara/73/2013-like viruses. The mean evolutionary rate of the A/H3N2 viruses analyzed in the study was at 4.17×10(-3) (95% HPD=3.09×10(-3) to 5.31×10(-3)) nucleotide substitutions per site per year, whereas the TMRCA was estimated at 11.18 (95% HPD=9.00-14.12) years ago from 2013. The Prediction of vaccine efficacy revealed modest vaccine efficaciousness during 2008, and 2010 influenza seasons, whilst sub-optimal effectiveness was registered in 2007,2009, 2012 and 2013. Further, the overall selective pressure acting on the HA1 domain was estimated at 0.56 (ω<1), suggesting that a majority of codon sites in the HA1 epitopes were evolving under purifying selection. CONCLUSIONS: Generally, our results highlight the genetic plasticity of A/H3N2 viruses and reveal considerable disparity in vaccine efficaciousness against the A/H3N2 viruses that circulated in Kenya, specifically during 2007,2009, 2012, and 2013 influenza seasons. Our findings underscore the importance and need for consistent surveillance and molecular characterization of influenza viruses, to inform decision making and enhance early of detection of strains with epidemic/pandemic potential as well as benefit in guiding decisions regarding the appropriate annual influenza vaccine formulations.

PreviewAttachmentSize
nyagau_et_al_2020.pdf1.36 MB

UoN Websites Search