• Antiviral susceptibility profile of influenza A viruses; keep an eye on immunocompromised patients under prolonged treatment.

      Kossyvakis, A; Mentis, A-F A; Tryfinopoulou, K; Pogka, V; Kalliaropoulos, A; Antalis, E; Lytras, T; Meijer, A; Tsiodras, S; Karakitsos, P; et al. (2017-02)
      There was an increase in severe and fatal influenza cases in Greece during the 2011-2015 post-pandemic period. To investigate causality, we determined neuraminidase (NA) inhibitor susceptibility and resistance-conferring NA and hemagglutinin (HA) mutations in circulating influenza type A viruses during the pandemic (2009-2010) and post-pandemic periods in Greece. One hundred thirty-four influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and 95 influenza A(H3N2) viruses submitted to the National Influenza Reference Laboratory of Southern Greece were tested for susceptibility to oseltamivir and zanamivir. Antiviral resistance was assessed by neuraminidase sequence analysis, as well as the fluorescence-based 50 % inhibitory concentration (IC50) method. Five influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses (2.2 %) showed significantly reduced inhibition by oseltamivir (average IC50 300.60nM vs. 1.19nM) by Gaussian kernel density plot analysis. These viruses were isolated from immunocompromised patients and harbored the H275Y oseltamivir resistance-conferring NA substitution. All A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses were zanamivir-susceptible, and all A(H3N2) viruses were susceptible to both drugs. Oseltamivir-resistant viruses did not form a distinct cluster by phylogenetic analysis. Permissive mutations were detected in immunogenic and non immunogenic NA regions of both oseltamivir- resistant and susceptible viruses in the post-pandemic seasons. Several amino acid substitutions in the HA1 domain of the HA gene of post-pandemic viruses were identified. This study indicated low resistance to NAIs among tested influenza viruses. Antiviral resistance emerged only in immunocompromised patients under long-term oseltamivir treatment. Sequential sample testing in this vulnerable group of patients is recommended to characterise resistance or reinfection and viral evolution.
    • Heterosubtypic cross-reactivity of HA1 antibodies to influenza A, with emphasis on nonhuman subtypes (H5N1, H7N7, H9N2).

      Te Beest, Dennis E; de Bruin, Erwin; Imholz, Sandra; Koopmans, Marion; van Boven, Michiel (2017)
      Epidemics of influenza A vary greatly in size and age distribution of cases, and this variation is attributed to varying levels of pre-existing immunity. Recent studies have shown that antibody-mediated immune responses are more cross-reactive than previously believed, and shape patterns of humoral immunity to influenza A viruses over long periods. Here we quantify antibody responses to the hemagglutinin subunit 1 (HA1) across a range of subtypes using protein microarray analysis of cross-sectional serological surveys carried out in the Netherlands before and after the A/2009 (H1N1) pandemic. We find significant associations of responses, both within and between subtypes. Interestingly, substantial overall reactivity is observed to HA1 of avian H7N7 and H9N2 viruses. Seroprevalence of H7N7 correlates with antibody titers to A/1968 (H3N2), and is highest in persons born between 1954 and 1969. Seroprevalence of H9N2 is high across all ages, and correlates strongly with A/1957 (H2N2). This correlation is most pronounced in A/2009 (H1N1) infected persons born after 1968 who have never encountered A/1957 (H2N2)-like viruses. We conclude that heterosubtypic antibody cross-reactivity, both between human subtypes and between human and nonhuman subtypes, is common in the human population.