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Concept: Influenzavirus B


Systematic influenza virus surveillance has been carried out in India since 2004 and has revealed the cocirculation of type B lineages. The genetic diversity of influenza B viruses was observed when full-genome analysis was performed. In 2010, the cocirculation of multiple genotypes was observed.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Evolution, Virus, Influenza, Genetic diversity, Influenzavirus B


We evaluated the limits of detection of 3 rapid influenza diagnostic tests-BD Veritor™ System for Flu A+B, Binax NOW® Influenza A+B, and QuickVue® Influenza-for influenza strains circulating in 2010-2012. Limits of detection varied by influenza strain, with Veritor™ Flu A+B test showing the lowest limit of detection for all strains.

Concepts: Virus, Antiviral drug, Influenza, Avian influenza, Strain, Orthomyxoviridae, Influenzavirus B, Reassortment


Influenza B is characterised by two antigenic lineages; B/Victoria and B/Yamagata. These lineages circulate together with influenza A during influenza seasons, with varying incidence from year to year and by geographic region.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Geography, Influenza, Orthomyxoviridae, Influenzavirus B, Region, Influenzavirus A, Regional geography


Of the Orthomyxoviridae family of viruses, only influenza A viruses are thought to exist as multiple subtypes and has non-human maintenance hosts. In April 2011, nasal swabs were collected for virus isolation from pigs exhibiting influenza-like illness. Subsequent electron microscopic, biochemical, and genetic studies identified an orthomyxovirus with seven RNA segments exhibiting approximately 50% overall amino acid identity to human influenza C virus. Based on its genetic organizational similarities to influenza C viruses this virus has been provisionally designated C/Oklahoma/1334/2011 (C/OK). Phylogenetic analysis of the predicted viral proteins found that the divergence between C/OK and human influenza C viruses was similar to that observed between influenza A and B viruses. No cross reactivity was observed between C/OK and human influenza C viruses using hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assays. Additionally, screening of pig and human serum samples found that 9.5% and 1.3%, respectively, of individuals had measurable HI antibody titers to C/OK virus. C/OK virus was able to infect both ferrets and pigs and transmit to naive animals by direct contact. Cell culture studies showed that C/OK virus displayed a broader cellular tropism than a human influenza C virus. The observed difference in cellular tropism was further supported by structural analysis showing that hemagglutinin esterase (HE) proteins between two viruses have conserved enzymatic but divergent receptor-binding sites. These results suggest that C/OK virus represents a new subtype of influenza C viruses that currently circulates in pigs that has not been recognized previously. The presence of multiple subtypes of co-circulating influenza C viruses raises the possibility of reassortment and antigenic shift as mechanisms of influenza C virus evolution.

Concepts: Virus, Influenza, Avian influenza, Swine influenza, Pig, Orthomyxoviridae, Influenzavirus B, Influenzavirus C


The literature concerning gestational maternal influenza virus infection and risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is inconclusive. To address this uncertainty, we obtained information from questionnaires and samples from the Autism Birth Cohort, a prospective birth cohort comprising mothers, fathers, and offspring recruited in Norway in 1999 to 2008. Through questionnaires, referrals, and linkages to the Norwegian National Patient Registry, we identified 338 mothers of children with ASD and 348 frequency-matched controls for whom plasma samples that had been collected midpregnancy and after delivery were available for influenza virus serology via luciferase immunoprecipitation and hemagglutinin inhibition assays for influenza virus strains circulating during the study period. Assay data were combined to define serological status and integrated with self-reports of influenza-like illness to estimate ASD risk. Neither influenza A nor influenza B virus infection was associated with increased ASD risk. Integration of reports of symptoms of influenza-like illness with serology revealed an increase in risk for seropositive women with symptoms, but this increase did not achieve statistical significance (a level of P < 0.05) in the comparison with seronegative women without symptoms (adjusted odds ratio, 1.93; 95% confidence interval, 0.95 to 3.89; P = 0.068). Although chance may explain our findings, the magnitude of the potential association may be of biological importance, and dismissing our findings could result in failure to detect a bona fide association (type II error). If the association is true, we posit that the risk is due to activation of the maternal immune system following infection rather than direct fetal infection. Data on levels of cytokines or other mediators of inflammation would allow us to test the validity of this hypothesis. IMPORTANCE The causes of most cases of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are unknown. Some epidemiological studies suggest that maternal gestational influenza virus infection may increase the risk of ASD in offspring. Here, we describe an analysis of a large birth cohort with results based on questionnaires that prospectively addressed subjective reports of influenza-like illness and serological assays for objective determination of influenza virus infection. Although serologic evidence of gestational influenza virus infection alone was not associated with risk, positive serology and symptoms of influenza-like illness cannot yet be definitely ruled out as a risk factor.

Concepts: Antibody, Epidemiology, Influenza, Autism, Serology, Orthomyxoviridae, Influenzavirus B, Influenzavirus C


In an attempt to assess the cross-protective potential of the influenza virus neuraminidase (NA) as a vaccine antigen, different subtypes of recombinant NA were expressed in a baculovirus system and used to vaccinate mice prior to lethal challenge with homologous, heterologous, or heterosubtypic viruses. Mice immunized with NA of subtype N2 were completely protected from morbidity and mortality in a homologous challenge and displayed significantly reduced viral lung titers. Heterologous challenge with a drifted strain resulted in morbidity but no mortality. Similar results were obtained for challenge experiments with N1 NA. Mice immunized with influenza B virus NA (from B/Yamagata/16/88) displayed no morbidity when sublethally infected with the homologous strain and, importantly, were completely protected from morbidity and mortality when lethally challenged with the prototype Victoria lineage strain or a more recent Victoria lineage isolate. Upon analyzing the NA content in 4 different inactivated-virus vaccine formulations from the 2013-2014 season via Western blot assay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay quantification, we found that the amount of NA does indeed vary across vaccine brands. We also measured hemagglutinin (HA) and NA endpoint titers in pre- and postvaccination human serum samples from individuals who received a trivalent inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine from the 2004-2005 season; the induction of NA titers was statistically less pronounced than the induction of HA titers. The demonstrated homologous and heterologous protective capacity of recombinant NA suggests that supplementing vaccine formulations with a standard amount of NA may offer increased protection against influenza virus infection.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Virus, Vaccine, Vaccination, Influenza, Orthomyxoviridae, Influenzavirus B


Two influenza B lineages have been co-circulating since the 1980s, and because inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) contains only one B strain, it provides little/no protection against the alternate B-lineage. We assessed a candidate inactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIV) containing both B lineages versus TIV in healthy adults.

Concepts: Pneumonia, Vaccine, Randomized controlled trial, Influenza, Influenza vaccine, Influenzavirus B


Influenza virus has the ability to evade host immune surveillance through rapid viral genetic drift and reassortment; therefore, it remains a continuous public health threat. The development of vaccines producing broadly reactive antibodies, as well as therapeutic strategies using human neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (HuMAbs) with global reactivity, has been gathering great interest recently. Here, three hybridoma clones producing HuMAbs against influenza B virus, designated 5A7, 3A2 and 10C4, were prepared using peripheral lymphocytes from vaccinated volunteers, and were investigated for broad cross-reactive neutralizing activity. Of these HuMAbs, 3A2 and 10C4, which recognize the readily mutable 190-helix region near the receptor binding site in the hemagglutinin (HA) protein, react only with the Yamagata lineage of influenza B virus. By contrast, HuMAb 5A7 broadly neutralizes influenza B strains that were isolated from 1985 to 2006, belonging to both Yamagata and Victoria lineages. Epitope mapping revealed that 5A7 recognizes 316G, 318C and 321W near the C terminal of HA1, a highly conserved region in influenza B virus. Indeed, no mutations in the amino acid residues of the epitope region were induced, even after the virus was passaged ten times in the presence of HuMAb 5A7. Moreover, 5A7 showed significant therapeutic efficacy in mice, even when it was administered 72 hours post-infection. These results indicate that 5A7 is a promising candidate for developing therapeutics, and provide insight for the development of a universal vaccine against influenza B virus.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Amino acid, Vaccine, Vaccination, Influenza, Orthomyxoviridae, Influenzavirus B


We challenge the notion that influenza B virus infection is milder than influenza A virus infection by finding similar clinical characteristics and outcomes between adults hospitalized with these two types of influenza. Among patients treated with oseltamivir, length of stay and mortality did not differ by type of virus infection.

Concepts: Influenza, Orthomyxoviridae, Influenzavirus B, Influenzavirus A


Influenza D virus (IDV) is unique among four types of influenza viruses in that it utilizes cattle as a primary reservoir. The thermal and acid stability of IDV were examined and directly compared with those of influenza A virus (IAV), influenza B virus (IBV), and influenza C virus (ICV). The results of our experiments demonstrated that only IDV had a high residual infectivity (~2.5 log units of 50% tissue culture infective dose [TCID50]/ml) after a 60-min exposure to 53°C in solution at a neutral pH, and remarkably, IDV retained this infectivity even after exposure to 53°C for 120 min. Furthermore, the data showed that IDV was extremely resistant to inactivation by low pH. After being treated at pH 3.0 for 30 min, IDV lost only approximately 20% of its original infectiousness, while all other types of influenza viruses were completely inactivated. Finally, replacement of the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) proteins of a temperature- and acid-sensitive IAV with the hemagglutinin-esterase fusion (HEF) protein of a stable IDV through a reverse genetic system largely rendered the recombinant IAVs resistant to high-temperature and low-pH treatments. Together, these results indicated that the HEF glycoprotein is a primary determinant of the exceptional temperature and acid tolerance of IDV. Further investigation into the viral entry and fusion mechanism mediated by the intrinsically stable HEF protein of IDV may offer novel insights into how the fusion machinery of influenza viruses evolve to achieve acid and thermal stability, which as a result promotes the potential to transmit across mammal species. IMPORTANCE Influenza D virus (IDV) utilizes cattle as a primary reservoir. Increased outbreaks in pigs and serological evidence of human infection have raised a concern about the potential of IDV adapting to humans. Here, we directly compared IDV’s stability to that of other influenza types (A, B, and C) following prolonged incubation at high temperatures or in a low-pH environment. We found that IDV is the most stable of the four types of influenza viruses. Importantly, we demonstrated that the hemagglutinin-esterase fusion (HEF) protein, which drives the fusion between viral and host cell membranes, is the primary determinant for the high thermal and acid stability of IDV. Considering that there is a link between the acid stability of the hemagglutinin protein of influenza A virus and its cross-species transmission, further investigation of the mechanism of HEF-directed viral tolerance may offer novel insights into tissue tropism and cross-species transmission of influenza viruses.

Concepts: Protein, Microbiology, Virus, Influenza, PH, Orthomyxoviridae, Influenzavirus B, Influenzavirus C