Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is a major health concern worldwide. In this study, we focused on antigenic analysis of HPAI H5N1 viruses isolated from poultry in India between 2006 and 2015 comprising 25 isolates from four phylogenetic clades 2.2 (1 isolate), 188.8.131.52 (1 isolate), 184.108.40.206a (17 isolates) and 220.127.116.11c (6 isolates). Seven H5N1 isolates from all four clades were selected for production of chicken antiserum, and antigenic analysis was carried out by hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay. HI data indicated antigenic divergence (6-21 fold reduction in cross-reactivity) between the two recently emerged clades 18.104.22.168a and 22.214.171.124c. These two clades are highly divergent (21-128 fold reduction in HI titre) from the earlier clades 2.2 /126.96.36.199 isolated in India. However, a maximum of 2-fold and 4-fold reduction in cross-reactivity was observed within the isolates of homologous clades 188.8.131.52c and 184.108.40.206a, respectively. The molecular basis of inter-clade antigenic divergence was examined in the haemagglutinin (HA) antigenic sites of the H5N1 virus. Amino acid changes at 8 HA antigenic sites were observed between clades 220.127.116.11a and 18.104.22.168c, whereas 20-23 substitutions were observed between clades 22.214.171.124a/126.96.36.199c and 2.2/188.8.131.52. Therefore, a systematic analysis of antigenic drift of the contemporary field isolates is a pre-requisite for determining the suitable strain(s) for vaccine candidature.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 3, 2016
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