Virol Sin. 2021 May 11:1-9. doi: 10.1007/s12250-021-00383-x. Online ahead of print.
No avian H7N9 outbreaks have occurred since the introduction of H7N9 inactivated vaccine in the fall of 2017. However, H7N9 is still prevalent in poultry. To surveil the prevalence, genetic characteristics, and antigenic changes of H7N9, over 7000 oropharyngeal and cloaca swab specimens were collected from live poultry markets and farms in 15 provinces of China from 2017 to 2019. A total of 85 influenza virus subtype H7N9 strains were isolated and 20 representative strains were selected for genetic analysis and antigenicity evaluation. Results indicated the decreased prevalence of low-pathogenic H7N9 strains while highly-pathogenic H7N9 strains became dominated since the introduction of vaccine. Phylogenetic analysis showed that strains from 2019 formed an independent small branch and were genetically distant to strains isolated in 2013-2018. Analysis of key amino acid sites showed that the virus strains may adapt to the host environment evolutionally through mutation. Our analysis predicted additional potential glycosylation sites for HA and NA genes in the 2019 strains. Sequence analysis of HA gene in strains isolated from 2018 to 2019 showed that there were an increased nucleotide substitution rate and an increased mutation rate in the first and second nucleotides of coding codons within the open reading frame. The hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay showed that H7-Re1 and H7-Re2 exhibited a lower HI titer for isolates from 2019, while H7-Re3 and rLN79 showed a high HI titer. The protective effect of the vaccine decreased after 15 months of use. Overall, under vaccination pressure, the evolution of influenza virus subtype H7N9 has accelerated.
Viruses. 2021 Mar 24;13(4):543. doi: 10.3390/v13040543.
We describe for the first time the genetic and antigenic characterization of 18 avian avulavirus type-6 viruses (AAvV-6) that were isolated from wild waterfowl in the Americas over the span of 12 years. Only one of the AAvV-6 viruses isolated failed to hemagglutinate chicken red blood cells. We were able to obtain full genome sequences of 16 and 2 fusion gene sequences from the remaining 2 isolates. This is more than double the number of full genome sequences available at the NCBI database. These AAvV-6 viruses phylogenetically grouped into the 2 existing AAvV-6 genotype subgroups indicating the existence of an intercontinental epidemiological link with other AAvV-6 viruses isolated from migratory waterfowl from different Eurasian countries. Antigenic maps made using HI assay data for these isolates showed that the two genetic groups were also antigenically distinct. An isolate representing each genotype was inoculated in specific pathogen free (SPF) chickens, however, no clinical symptoms were observed. A duplex fusion gene based real-time assay for the detection and genotyping of AAvV-6 to genotype 1 and 2 was developed. Using the developed assay, the viral shedding pattern in the infected chickens was examined. The chickens infected with both genotypes were able to shed the virus orally for about a week, however, no significant cloacal shedding was detected in chickens of both groups. Chickens in both groups developed detectable levels of anti-hemagglutinin antibodies 7 days after infection.
Front Public Health. 2021 Feb 10;9:644538. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.644538. eCollection 2021.
The rapid advancement in vaccine development represents a critical milestone that will help humanity tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the success of these efforts is not guaranteed, as it relies on the outcomes of national and international vaccination strategies. In this article, we highlight some of the challenges that Romania will face and propose a set of solutions to overcome them. With this in mind, we discuss issues such as the infrastructure of vaccine storage and delivery, the deployment and administration of immunisations, and the public acceptance of vaccines. The ways in which Romanian society will respond to a national COVID-19 vaccination campaign will be contingent on appropriate and timely actions. As many of the problems encountered in Romania are not unique, the proposed recommendations could be adapted and implemented in other countries that face similar issues, thereby informing better practices in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vet Microbiol. 2021 Mar;254:108985. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2021.108985. Epub 2021 Jan 13.
The genome of influenza A virus is negative-sense and segmented RNA, which is transcribed and replicated by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) during the virus life cycle. The viral RdRp is thought to be an important host range and virulence determinant factor, and the 627 site of PB2 subunit is a highly acceptable key site of RdRp function. Besides, the function of RdRp is modulated by several host factors. Identification of the host factors interacting with RdRp is of great interest. Here, we tried to explore an effective method to study virus-host interaction by rescuing replication-competent recombinant influenza viruses carrying Strep tagged PB2. Subsequently, we tested several biological characteristics of recombinant viruses in cells and pathogenicity in mice. Then, we purified of protein complex of Strep tagged PB2 and host factors of interest from 293 T cells infected with recombinant viruses. After purification, we performed mass spectrometry to identify these proteins that interacting with PB2. We identified 57 host factors in total. Through Gene Ontology (GO) and Protein-Protein interaction (PPI) network analysis, we revealed the function and network of these proteins. In summary, we generated replication-competent recombinant influenza viruses by inserting a Strep-Tag into PB2 and purified host factors interacting with viral RdRp bearing a 627 K or 627E PB2. These proteins might function as host range and virulence determinants of influenza virus.
Emerg Microbes Infect. 2020 Dec;9(1):2622-2631. doi: 10.1080/22221751.2020.1850180.
Influenza viruses have an error-prone polymerase complex that facilitates a mutagenic environment. Antigenic mutants swiftly arise from this environment with the capacity to persist in both humans and economically important livestock even in the face of vaccination. Furthermore, influenza viruses can adjust the antigenicity of the haemagglutinin (HA) protein, the primary influenza immunogen, using one of four molecular mechanisms. Two prominent mechanisms are: (1) enhancing binding avidity of HA toward cellular receptors to outcompete antibody binding and (2) amino acid substitutions that introduce an N-linked glycan on HA that sterically block antibody binding. In this study we investigate the impact that adsorptive mutation and N-linked glycosylation have on receptor-binding, viral fitness, and antigenicity. We utilize the H9N2 A/chicken/Pakistan/SKP-827/16 virus which naturally contains HA residue T180 that we have previously shown to be an adsorptive mutant relative to virus with T180A. We find that the addition of N-linked glycans can be beneficial or deleterious to virus replication depending on the background receptor binding avidity. We also find that in some cases, an N-linked glycan can trump the effect of an avidity enhancing substitution with respect to antigenicity. Taken together these data shed light on a potential route to the generation of a virus which is "fit" and able to overcome vaccine pressure.
Transbound Emerg Dis. 2020 Oct 30. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13903. Online ahead of print.
A retrospective investigation of pig tissue samples from different classical swine fever virus (CSFV) outbreaks was undertaken employing RT-PCR for possible coinfection with other swine viruses. Four samples from three different outbreaks were found to be coinfected with Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). Phylogenetic analysis was done based on complete E gene sequenced from all four coinfected samples. This revealed a new introduction of a divergent subgroup of JEV genotype I in India. This is the first report of detection of coinfection of JEV and CSFV in pigs and the first incidence of JEV genotype I in pigs in India.
Vet World. 2020 Aug;13(8):1524-1527. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2020.1524-1527. Epub 2020 Aug 8.
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Anaplasma infection is a worldwide prevalent condition that causes significant economic losses in affected flocks. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence and clinical signs associated with ovine anaplasmosis as well as the hematological and biochemical changes associated with the disease in natural infection in North Iraq.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 420 sheep were appropriately examined, and the clinical signs were documented accordingly. Blood samples were collected and subjected to parasitological, hematological, and biochemical analyses.
RESULTS: Anaplasma-infected sheep displayed the following clinical signs: Paleness of the mucous membrane, bloody diarrhea, emaciation, pyrexia, jaundice, nasal discharge, coughing, loss of wool, nervous signs, hemoglobinuria, and lacrimation. The prevalence of Anaplasma infection was 66.19%, and female sheep were significantly (p<0.05) more infected than male sheep. The hematological and biochemical parameters were significantly different between Anaplasma-positive and Anaplasma-negative sheep.
CONCLUSION: Anaplasma infection among sheep is a significant concern in North Iraq considering its prevalence, clinical signs, and hematological and biochemical findings, which entirely causes significant debilitating effects on sheep productivity. It is important to pay more attention toward managing tick infestation among sheep to reduce the occurrence of this rickettsial disease for a more robust livestock sector of the Iraqi economy.
Front Public Health. 2020 Jul 10;8:344. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.00344. eCollection 2020.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world varied in the strength and timeliness of their responses. In Romania, specific challenges were faced with regards to managing the spread and limiting the impact of the disease, ranging from healthcare infrastructure to demographic and sociocultural aspects. As the country has a sizeable diaspora, major difficulties were faced when large numbers of individuals from highly affected areas returned to Romania. However, the fast implementation of control measures successfully averted a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. This delayed the overburdening of an already challenged healthcare system during the initial phases of the epidemic. Furthermore, early control was facilitated by the exploitation of communication channels that penetrated all layers of society, from ordinary citizens to governmental authorities and high-ranking religious figures. The management of the COVID-19 crisis in Romania illustrates the importance of a fast initial response which takes into account the role played by sociocultural aspects in the context of an epidemic. As the challenges faced by Romania are not unique, these results could inform future public health strategies worldwide.
Cell Host Microbe. 2020 Oct 7;28(4):614-627.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2020.07.006. Epub 2020 Jul 27.
Swine influenza A viruses (swIAVs) can play a crucial role in the generation of new human pandemic viruses. In this study, in-depth passive surveillance comprising nearly 2,500 European swine holdings and more than 18,000 individual samples identified a year-round presence of up to four major swIAV lineages on more than 50% of farms surveilled. Phylogenetic analyses show that intensive reassortment with human pandemic A(H1N1)/2009 (H1pdm) virus produced an expanding and novel repertoire of at least 31 distinct swIAV genotypes and 12 distinct hemagglutinin/neuraminidase combinations with largely unknown consequences for virulence and host tropism. Several viral isolates were resistant to the human antiviral MxA protein, a prerequisite for zoonotic transmission and stable introduction into human populations. A pronounced antigenic variation was noted in swIAV, and several H1pdm lineages antigenically distinct from current seasonal human H1pdm co-circulate in swine. Thus, European swine populations represent reservoirs for emerging IAV strains with zoonotic and, possibly, pre-pandemic potential.