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Abstract

Background: Influenza A(H3N2) virus rapidly evolves to evade human immune responses, resulting in changes in the antigenicity of haemagglutinin (HA). Therefore, continuous genetic and antigenic analyses of A(H3N2) virus are necessary to detect antigenic mutants as quickly as possible.

Aim: We attempted to phylogenetically and antigenically capture the epidemic trend of A(H3N2) virus infection in Yokohama, Japan during the 2016/17 and 2017/18 influenza seasons.

Methods: We determined the HA sequences of A(H3N2) viruses detected in Yokohama, Japan during the 2016/17 and 2017/18 influenza seasons to identify amino acid substitutions and the loss or gain of potential N-glycosylation sites in HA, both of which potentially affect the antigenicity of HA. We also examined the antigenicity of isolates using ferret antisera obtained from experimentally infected ferrets.

Results: Influenza A(H3N2) viruses belonging to six clades (clades 3C.2A1, 3C.2A1a, 3C.2A1b, 3C.2A2, 3C.2A3 and 3C.2A4) were detected during the 2016/17 influenza season, whereas viruses belonging to two clades (clades 3C.2A1b and 3C.2A2) dominated during the 2017/18 influenza season. The isolates in clades 3C.2A1a and 3C.2A3 lost one N-linked glycosylation site in HA relative to other clades. Antigenic analysis revealed antigenic differences among clades, especially clade 3C.2A2 and 3C.2A4 viruses, which showed distinct antigenic differences from each other and from other clades in the antigenic map.

Conclusion: Multiple clades, some of which differed antigenically from others, co-circulated in Yokohama, Japan during the 2016/17 and 2017/18 influenza seasons.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.6.1800467
2019-02-07
2019-04-22
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.6.1800467
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