Emergence and spread of oseltamivir-resistant A(H1N1) influenza viruses in Oceania, South East Asia and South Africa.Antiviral Res 2009; 83(1):90-3AR
The neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) are an effective class of antiviral drugs for the treatment of influenza A and B infections. Until recently, only a low prevalence of NAI resistance (<1%) had been detected in circulating viruses. However, surveillance in Europe in late 2007 revealed significant numbers of A(H1N1) influenza strains with a H274Y neuraminidase mutation that were highly resistant to the NAI oseltamivir. We examined 264 A(H1N1) viruses collected in 2008 from South Africa, Oceania and SE Asia for their susceptibility to NAIs oseltamivir, zanamivir and peramivir in a fluorescence-based neuraminidase inhibition assay. Viruses with reduced oseltamivir susceptibility were further analysed by pyrosequencing assay. The frequency of the oseltamivir-resistant H274Y mutant increased significantly after May 2008, resulting in an overall proportion of 64% (168/264) resistance among A(H1N1) strains, although this subtype represented only 11.6% of all isolates received during 2008. H274Y mutant viruses demonstrated on average a 1466-fold reduction in oseltamivir susceptibility and 527-fold reduction in peramivir sensitivity compared to wild-type A(H1N1) viruses. The mutation had no impact on zanamivir susceptibility. Ongoing surveillance is essential to monitor how these strains may spread or persist in the future and to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments against them.