5 years ago

Genetic and antigenic characterization of influenza A(H3N2) in Cameroon during the 2014-2016 influenza seasons

Richard Njouom, Jane Francis Akoachere, Mohammed R. Njankouo, Gwladys C. Monamele, Marie-Astrid Vernet, Kathleen Victoir, Damian Anong

by Gwladys C. Monamele, Marie-Astrid Vernet, Mohammed R. Njankouo, Kathleen Victoir, Jane Francis Akoachere, Damian Anong, Richard Njouom

The first outbreak of influenza A(H3N2) occurred in 1968 and caused the third flu pandemic of the 20th century. It has affected multiple countries over time. The best strategy to reduce the burden of influenza is through vaccination whose efficacy varies with respect to the circulating strains. This study was performed to better understand the molecular evolution of influenza A(H3N2) and assess vaccine efficacy in Cameroon. Complete sequences of three gene segments were obtained from 2014 to 2016 influenza seasons in Cameroon. Hemagglutinin (HA), Neuraminidase (NA) and matrix (M) genes of 35 A(H3N2) virus strains were amplified and sequenced. Predicted vaccine efficacy was measured using the Pepitope model. Phylogenetic analysis of the HA gene showed that all Cameroonian strains had evolved away from the 3C.1-A/Texas/50/2012-like clade. Globally, 2014 virus strains clustered with the 2015–2016 vaccine strain, 3C.3a-A/Switzerland/9715293/2013, whereas 2015 and 2016 virus strains clustered with the 2016–2017 vaccine strain, 3C.2a-A/HongKong/4801/2014. In order to determine the genotypic drug susceptibility to neuraminidase inhibitors and amantadine, the NA and M2 protein coding sequences were analyzed. There was no strain with characteristic mutation for resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors, per contra; all strains possessed the substitution S31N, peculiar of resistance to adamantanes. There was drift in influenza A(H3N2) dominant epitopes B (2014 and 2015) to epitopes A (2016) with a theoretical efficiency in vaccine ranging from low to moderate. The presence of several antigenic site mutations among H3N2 virus strains between 2014–2016 influenza seasons in Cameroon confirms the progressing evolution of circulating H3N2 strains.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184411

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