Influenza virus A(H1N1)pdm09 hemagglutinin polymorphism and associated disease in southern Germany during the 2010/11 influenza season
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A novel influenza A virus emerged in early 2009 to cause the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century. Understanding the evolution of influenza virus is crucial to determine pathogenesis, vaccine efficacy, and resistance to antiviral drugs. In this study, we investigated the molecular evolution of influenza virus A(H1N1)pdm09 in the 2010/11 influenza season in southern Germany by sequence analysis of the influenza virus hemagglutinin gene from 25 patients with mild, moderate, and severe disease. Phylogenetic analysis revealed co-circulation of different genetic groups. The D222G mutation, which had previously been observed in severe cases, was not detected. Immunocompromised patients were not affected more severely than non-immunocompromised patients (p>0.05), although longer shedding was observed in some of them. Interestingly, additional mutations and potential glycosylation sites were detected in samples from the lower respiratory tract in two patients, but not in the corresponding upper respiratory tract specimens. The H275Y mutation in the influenza virus neuraminidase gene, known to confer resistance to the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir, was detected in one patient.
We are grateful to Nadja Besazza for excellent technical assistance. We are grateful to Dieter Neumann-Haefelin and Markus Hufnagel for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was partially supported by the German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF, contract #01ES0830).
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