Molecular Epidemiology and Vaccine Compatibility Analysis of Seasonal Influenza Viruses in Wuhan, 2016–2019

Abstract

Influenza viruses (FLUV) cause high morbidity and mortality annually in the world and pose a serious threat to the public health. Wuhan, as an important transportation hub in China, has a dense population and suitable climate, which also lays a major hidden danger for the outbreak of influenza. To survey and characterize the seasonal FLUV in Wuhan during 2016–2019, we collected 44,738 throat swabs, among which 15.5% were influenza A (FLUAV) positive, 6.1% influenza B (FLUBV) and 0.3% co-infection. By monitoring FLUV in each month from June 2016 to May 2019, different with the previously seasonality pattern, only a single influenza peak was appeared in winter of 2017–2018 and 2018–2019, respectively. These data indicated that the complex circulation pattern of seasonal influenza in Wuhan. In addition, we found the age group was skewed towards 5–14 years group whose activity were mostly school based, which suggested school may be an important place for influenza outbreaks. Meanwhile, phylogenic analysis revealed that two subtypes (subclade 3C.2a2 and 3C.2a1b) of A(H3N2) were circulating in Wuhan and there was an obvious transition in 2018 because the two subclades were detected simultaneously. Furthermore, by estimating the vaccine effectiveness, we found that the vaccine strain of FLUAV didn’t seem to match very well the current epidemic strain, especially A(H3N2). Hence, more accurate prediction of seasonal outbreak is essential for vaccine design. Taken together, our results provided the current information about seasonal FLUV in Wuhan which form the basis for vaccine updating.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and the National key research and development program of China (2018TFE0204500).

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Authors

Contributions

YRL and WH designed the studies. LJC and JJG performed the experiments. WWG, EXS, XW, KJL and JY collected samples and performed the statistical analysis. LJC and JJG wrote the manuscript. YRL, WH and MS contributed to manuscript revision. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Yi-Rong Li or Wei Hou.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing conflicts of interest.

Animal and Human Rights Statement

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University. Additional informed consent was obtained from all patients for which identifying information is included in this article. Data were collected from the electronic patient record.

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Chen, LJ., Guo, JJ., Guo, WW. et al. Molecular Epidemiology and Vaccine Compatibility Analysis of Seasonal Influenza Viruses in Wuhan, 2016–2019. Virol. Sin. 35, 556–565 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12250-020-00225-2

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Keywords

  • Seasonal influenza
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Phylogenic analysis
  • Vaccine effectiveness