Features 2016–2018 current human influenza A(H3N2) viruses circulating in Russia

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Abstract

Influenza A(H3N2) viruses demonstrate the highest level of evolutionary variability compared to other influenza viruses circulating in human population. The strains of this subtype affect a large number of people belonging to highrisk groups: children under three years of age, pregnant women, people over 65 years, medical professionals, and persons with chronic nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Influenza A(H3N2) viruses result in high mortality rate in subjects over 65 years causing the most severe course, accompanied by serious complications. Here, we present the data on analyzing antigenic and biological properties of human influenza A(H3N2) viruses which circulated in 2016–2018 epidemic seasons in Russia. The data on the neuraminidase activity (MUNANA test) of recent influenza A(H3N2) viruses isolated on MDCK and MDCK-Siat1 cell cultures are presented to compare with NA sequencing data in order to assess possible influence of the isolation system on NA activity. Due to changes in virus receptor properties, a choice of optimal isolation conditions is of high importance. The WHO recommended cell cultures differing in receptor properties were used. Efficiency of virus isolation on MDCK and MDCK-Siat1 cell lines was also analyzed. It has been established that the efficiency of influenza A(H3N2) virus isolation in MDCK-Siat1 cell culture was 77.3%, whereas in MDCK — 71.3%. It was shown that the majority of isolated strains (68.6% in 2016–2017 and 44.6% in 2017–2018) exhibited a NA-induced erythrocyte agglutination. It was found that current A(H3N2) strains isolated in Russia displayed no significant antigenic differences regardless of cell cultures used; however, adaptive substitutions in neuraminidase may emerge. While studying antigenic properties of influenza A(H3N2) viruses by using the HI assay and the microneutralization assay (cell-ELISA), it was noted that the majority of strains isolated in the 2017–2018 epidemic season was antigenically related and interacted with antiserum against the reference strain A/Singapore/INFIMH-16–0019/2016 (MDCK-Siat1) at a homologous titer. According to the sequencing data, it was established that during the 2017–2018 epidemic season, viruses of subclade 3C.2a2, as well as 3C.2a3 and 3C.2a1b were detected in Russia. Thus, an increasing genetic heterogeneity of A(H3N2) viruses was revealed in Russia.

About the authors

P. A. Petrova

Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza

Author for correspondence.
Email: suddenkovapolina@gmail.com
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8527-7946

Polina A. Petrova, Junior Researcher, Department of Evolutionary Variability of Influenza Viruses

197376, St. Petersburg, Professor Popov str., 15/17

Phone: +7 952 233-36-21 (mobile)

Russian Federation

N. I. Konovalova

Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza

Email: konovalova_nadya@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7213-9306

PhD, Leading Researcher Assistant of the Laboratory of Evolutionary Variability of Influenza Viruses

St. Petersburg Russian Federation

A. D. Vassilieva

Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza

Email: nastasya_vasileva_94@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6818-5548

Research Assistant of the Laboratory of Evolutionary Variability of Influenza Viruses

St. Petersburg Russian Federation

E. M. Eropkina

Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza

Email: elena.eropkina@gmail.com

PhD, Senior Researcher, Laboratory of Evolutionary Variability of Influenza Viruses

St. Petersburg Russian Federation

A. A. Ivanova

Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza

Email: anna_e_svobodniy@mail.ru

Junior Researcher, Laboratory of Molecular Virology

St. Petersburg Russian Federation

A. B. Komissarov

Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza

Email: a.b.komissarov@gmail.com

Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Virology

St. Petersburg Russian Federation

M. Yu. Eropkin

Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza

Email: mikhail.eropkin@influenza.spb.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3306-847X

PhD, Head of the Laboratory of Evolutionary Variability of Influenza Viruses

St. Petersburg Russian Federation

D. M. Danilenko

Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza

Email: daria.baibus@gmail.com
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6174-0836

PhD, Deputy Director on Science, Head of Etiology and Epidemiology of Influenza and ARI Department

St. Petersburg Russian Federation

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Copyright (c) 2020 Petrova P.A., Konovalova N.I., Vassilieva A.D., Eropkina E.M., Ivanova A.A., Komissarov A.B., Eropkin M.Y., Danilenko D.M.

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