Interim estimates of divergence date and vaccine strain match of human influenza A(H3N2) virus from systematic influenza surveillance (2010–2015) in Hangzhou, southeast of China
International Journal of Infectious Diseases
Objectives: In the post-pandemic period 2010-2015, seasonal influenza A(H3N2) virus predominated in Hangzhou, southeast of China, with an increased activity and semi-annual seasons. This study utilized HA virus gene segment sequences to analyze the divergence date and vaccine strain match of human influenza A(H3N2) virus from systematic influenza surveillance in Hangzhou. Methods: Virological and serological analyses of 124 representative A(H3N2) viruses from prospective studies of systematic
... ies of systematic surveillance samples were conducted to quantify the genetic and antigenic characteristics and their vaccine strain match. Results: Bayesian phylogenetic inference showed that two separate subgroups 3C.3 and 3C.2 probably diverged from group 3C in early 2012 and then evolved into groups 3C.3a and 3C.2a, respectively, in the 2014/15 influenza season. Furthermore, high amino acid substitution rates of the HA1 subunit were found in A(H3N2) group 3C.2a variants, indicating that increased antigenic drift of A(H3N2) group 3C.2a virus is associated with a vaccine mismatch to the 2015/16 vaccine reference strain Switzerland/ 9715293/2013 (group 3C.3a). Conclusions: A portion of the group 3C.2a isolates are not covered by the current A(H3N2) vaccine strain. These findings offer insights into the emergence of group 3C.2a variants with epidemic potential in the imminent influenza seasons.