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Sci Rep . Genetic and potential antigenic evolution of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses circulating in Kenya during 2009-2018 influenza seasons

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  • Sci Rep . Genetic and potential antigenic evolution of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses circulating in Kenya during 2009-2018 influenza seasons

    Sci Rep


    . 2023 Dec 15;13(1):22342.
    doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-49157-3. Genetic and potential antigenic evolution of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses circulating in Kenya during 2009-2018 influenza seasons

    D Collins Owuor 1 , Zaydah R de Laurent 2 , Bryan O Nyawanda 3 , Gideon O Emukule 4 , Rebecca Kondor 5 , John R Barnes 5 , D James Nokes 2 6 , Charles N Agoti 2 7 , Sandra S Chaves 4 5



    AffiliationsFree PMC article Abstract

    Influenza viruses undergo rapid evolutionary changes, which requires continuous surveillance to monitor for genetic and potential antigenic changes in circulating viruses that can guide control and prevention decision making. We sequenced and phylogenetically analyzed A(H1N1)pdm09 virus genome sequences obtained from specimens collected from hospitalized patients of all ages with or without pneumonia between 2009 and 2018 from seven sentinel surveillance sites across Kenya. We compared these sequences with recommended vaccine strains during the study period to infer genetic and potential antigenic changes in circulating viruses and associations of clinical outcome. We generated and analyzed a total of 383 A(H1N1)pdm09 virus genome sequences. Phylogenetic analyses of HA protein revealed that multiple genetic groups (clades, subclades, and subgroups) of A(H1N1)pdm09 virus circulated in Kenya over the study period; these evolved away from their vaccine strain, forming clades 7 and 6, subclades 6C, 6B, and 6B.1, and subgroups 6B.1A and 6B.1A1 through acquisition of additional substitutions. Several amino acid substitutions among circulating viruses were associated with continued evolution of the viruses, especially in antigenic epitopes and receptor binding sites (RBS) of circulating viruses. Disease severity declined with an increase in age among children aged < 5 years. Our study highlights the necessity of timely genomic surveillance to monitor the evolutionary changes of influenza viruses. Routine influenza surveillance with broad geographic representation and whole genome sequencing capacity to inform on prioritization of antigenic analysis and the severity of circulating strains are critical to improved selection of influenza strains for inclusion in vaccines.


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