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Deep mining of sequencing data reveals the antigenic patterns and evolution of the human influenza A (H1N1) virus


The influenza A (H1N1) virus causes seasonal epidemics that result in severe illnesses and deaths almost every year. A deep understanding of the antigenic patterns and evolution of human influenza A (H1N1) virus is extremely important for its effective surveillance and prevention.

A recent research led by Drs. Taijiao Jiang, Aiping Wu and Yuelong Shu has elucidated the global antigenic patterns of human H1N1 viruses through mining the big gene data of H1N1 viruses isolated since 1918. The article was published on the journal Scientific Reports entitled “Antigenic Patterns and Evolution of the Human Influenza A (H1N1) Virus” (http://www.nature.com/articles/srep14171).

In this work, the researchers have further identified eight dominant antigenic clusters across the globe for seasonal H1N1 viruses since 1977, which demonstrated sequential replacements over time with a similar pattern in Asia, Europe and North America. Among them, six clusters emerged first in Asia. As for China, three of the eight antigenic clusters were detected in South China earlier than in North China, indicating the leading role of South China in H1N1 transmission. The comprehensive view of the antigenic evolution of human influenza A (H1N1) virus can help formulate better strategy for its prevention and control.