Mammalian pathogenicity and transmissibility of a reassortant Eurasian avian-like A(H1N1v) influenza virus associated with human infection in China (2015)

Swine-origin (variant) H1 influenza A viruses associated with numerous human infections in North America in recent years have been extensively studied in vitro and in mammalian models to determine their pandemic potential. However, limited information is available on Eurasian avian-like lineage variant H1 influenza viruses. In 2015, A/Hunan/42443/2015 virus was isolated from a child in China with a severe infection. Molecular analysis revealed that this virus possessed several key virulence and human adaptation markers. Similar to what was previously observed in C57BL/6J mice, we report here that in the BALB/c mouse model, A/Hunan/42443/2015 virus caused more severe morbidity and higher mortality than did North American variant H1 virus isolates. Furthermore, the virus efficiently replicated throughout the respiratory tract of ferrets and exhibited a capacity for transmission in this model, underscoring the need to monitor zoonotic viruses that cross the species barrier as they continue to pose a pandemic threat.