Virology. 2009-06-05; 388.2: 270-8.

The origin and global emergence of adamantane resistant A/H3N2 influenza viruses

Nelson MI, Simonsen L, Viboud C, Miller MA, Holmes EC

PMID: 19394063


Resistance to the adamantane class of antiviral drugs by human A/H3N2 influenza viruses currently exceeds 90% in the United States and multiple Asian countries. Adamantane resistance is associated with a single amino acid change (S31N) in the M2 protein, which was shown to rapidly disseminate globally in 2005 in association with a genome reassortment event. However, the exact origin of influenza A/H3N2 viruses carrying the S31N mutation has not been characterized, particularly in South-East Asia. We therefore conducted a phylogenetic analysis of the HA, NA, and M1/2 segments of viral isolates collected between 1997 and 2007 from temperate localities in the Northern hemisphere (New York State, United States, 492 isolates) and Southern hemisphere (New Zealand and Australia, 629 isolates) and a subtropical locality in South-East Asia (Hong Kong, 281 isolates). We find that although the S31N mutation was independently introduced at least 11 times, the vast majority of resistant viruses now circulating globally descend from a single introduction that was first detected in the summer of 2003 in Hong Kong. These resistant viruses were continually detected in Hong Kong throughout 2003-2005, acquired a novel HA through reassortment during the first part of 2005, and thereafter spread globally. The emergence and persistence of adamantane resistant viruses in Hong Kong further supports a source-sink model of global influenza virus ecology, in which South-East Asia experiences continuous viral activity and repeatedly seeds epidemics in temperate areas.

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