Mechanism of human influenza virus RNA persistence and virion survival in feces: mucus protects virions from acid and digestive juices.
Hirose R1,2, Nakaya T2, Naito Y1, Daidoji T2, Watanabe Y2, Yasuda H1, Konishi H1, Itoh Y1.
Although viral RNA or infectious virions have been detected in the feces of individuals infected with human influenza A/B virus (IAV/IBV), the mechanism of viral survival in the gastrointestinal tract remains unclear. We developed a model that attempts to recapitulate the conditions encountered by a swallowed virus. While IAV/IBV is vulnerable to simulated digestive juices (gastric acid and bile/pancreatic juice), highly viscous mucus protects viral RNA and virions, allowing the virus to retain its infectivity. Our results suggest that virions and RNA present in swallowed mucus are not inactivated or degraded by the gastrointestinal environment, allowing their detection in feces.
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feces; inactivation; influenza; mucus; swallow; viscosity
PMID: 28498998 DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jix224