, Volume 141, Issue 8, pp 1553-1569

Previous H1N1 influenza A viruses circulating in the Mongolian population

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Summary

Four influenza A viruses of the subtype H1N1, isolated from Mongolian patients in Ulaanbaatar between 1985 and 1991, were analysed by sequencing of various RNA segments. The isolate from 1985 was found to be highly related in all genes sequenced to strains isolated from camels in the same region and at about the same time. These camel isolates were presumably derived from a UV-light inactivated reassortant vaccine (PR8 × USSR/77) prepared in Leningrad in 1978 and used in the Mongolian population at that time [19]. The human isolate from 1988 was also found to be a derivative of a reassortant between PR8 and USSR/77; in contrast to the 1985 isolate, however, it contained an HA closely related to PR8. One of the Mongolian isolates from 1991 (111/91) was in all genes sequenced closely related to PR8, while the other isolate from 1991 (162/91) was closely related to H1N1 strains isolated around 1986 in other parts of the world. About 12% of 235 convalescent sera collected in various parts of Mongolia contained antibodies against PR8, while none of German control sera contained such antibodies. The mutational and evolutionary rates of the Mongolian strains seem to be significantly lower when compared to the rates of human influenza A strains isolated in other parts of the world. This might indicate that these rates depend to a certain extent on the population density. Thus, viruses from remote areas might keep the potential to reappear in the human population after several years to cause a pandemic as it had happened in 1977.