Influenza virus is a respiratory pathogen that causes seasonal epidemics by resulting in a considerable number of influenza-like illness (ILI) patients. During the 2016/17 season, ILI rates increased unusually earlier and higher than previous seasons in Korea, and most viral isolates were subtyped as H3N2 strains. Notably, the hemagglutinin (HA) of most Korean H3N2 strains retained newly introduced lysine signatures in HA antigenic sites A and D, compared with that of clade 3C.2a vaccine virus, which affected antigenic distances to the standard vaccine antisera in a hemagglutination inhibition assay. The neuraminidase (NA) of Korean H3N2 strains also harbored amino acid mutations. However, neither consistent amino acid mutations nor common phylogenetic clustering patterns were observed. These suggest that Korean H3N2 strains of the 2016/17 season might be distantly related with the vaccine virus both in genotypic and phenotypic classifications, which would adversely affect vaccine effectiveness.
- Molecular evolution
- Vaccine effectiveness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology