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Characterization of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses in Germany in season 2019-2020 – co-circulation of an antigenic drift variant
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  • Marianne Wedde,
  • Djin-Ye Oh,
  • Silke Buda,
  • Andrea Thürmer,
  • Sandra Kaiser,
  • Barbara Biere,
  • Susanne Duwe,
  • Janine Reiche,
  • Thorsten Wolff,
  • Ralf Dürrwald
Marianne Wedde
Robert Koch Institut
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Djin-Ye Oh
Robert Koch Institut
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Silke Buda
Robert Koch-Institute
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Andrea Thürmer
Robert Koch Institut
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Sandra Kaiser
Robert Koch Institut
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Barbara Biere
Robert Koch Inst
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Susanne Duwe
Robert Koch Institut
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Janine Reiche
Robert Koch Institut
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Thorsten Wolff
Robert Koch Institut
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Ralf Dürrwald
Robert Koch Institut
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Abstract

Background Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus entered the human population in 2009 and evolved within this population for more than ten years. Despite genetic evolution no remarkable changes in the antigenic reactive pattern of these viruses were observed so far. Methods Primary respiratory samples of the German influenza virological sentinel were investigated by qPCR. Influenza virus-positive samples were characterized genetically and antigenetically. Results In December 2019, a antigenic drift variant characterized by an N156K substitution in the hemagglutinin of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus emerged in Germany, which exhibited a reactivity to ferret antiserum that was an average 6 log2 lower than the vaccine virus A/Brisbane/02/2018 and the other A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses circulating in the influenza season 2019-2020. These viruses accounted for 20% of all A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses characterized in the German influenza sentinel. Patients infected with these viruses had a shorter median time period of medical consultation after onset of symptoms and were more frequently treated with neuraminidase inhibitors in comparison to patients infected with other A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses. Conclusions This parallel circulation of two antigenic variants of A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses which differ remarkably in their antigenic reactive pattern contributes to a greater variability in circulating influenza viruses and challenges vaccination.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

16 Jul 2021Submitted to Influenza and other respiratory viruses
19 Jul 2021Assigned to Editor
19 Jul 2021Submission Checks Completed
16 Aug 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned