Sun Y, Mao H, Lou X, Wang X, Chen Y, Zhou B, Zhang. Molecular epidemiologic characteristics of hemagglutinin from five waves of avian influenza A (H7N9) virus infection, from 2013 to 2017, in Zhejiang Province, China. Arch Virol. 2021 Sep 30
There have been five waves of influenza A (H7N9) epidemics in Zhejiang Province between 2013 and 2017. Although the epidemiological characteristics of the five waves have been reported, the molecular genetics aspects, including the phylogeny, evolution, and mutation of hemagglutinin (HA), have not been systematically investigated. A total of 154 H7N9 samples from Zhejiang Province were collected between 2013 and 2017 and sequenced using an Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine. The starting dates of the waves were 16 March 2013, 1 July 2013, 1 July 2014, 1 July 2015, and 1 July 2016. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and amino acid mutations were counted after the HA sequences were aligned. The evolution of H7N9 matched the temporal order of the five waves, among which wave 3 played an important role. The 55 SNPs and 14 amino acid mutations with high frequency identified among the five waves revealed the dynamic occurrence of mutation in the process of viral dissemination. Wave 3 contributed greatly to the subsequent epidemic of waves 4 and 5 of H7N9. Compared with wave 1, wave 5 was characterized by more mutations, including A143V and R148K, two mutations that have been reported to weaken the immune response. In addition, some amino acid mutations were observed in wave 5 that led to more lineages. It is necessary to strengthen the surveillance of subsequent H7N9 influenza outbreaks.
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