Genetic characterization of circulating seasonal Influenza A viruses (2005-2009) revealed introduction of oseltamivir resistant H1N1 strains during 2009 in eastern India.Infect Genet Evol. 2010 Dec; 10(8):1188-98.IG
Influenza surveillance was implemented in Kolkata, eastern India in 2005 to identify the circulating subtypes and characterize their genetic diversity. Throat and nasal swabs were collected from outpatients with influenza-like illness (ILI). Of 2844 ILI cases identified at two referral hospitals during October 2005-September 2009, 309 (10.86%) were positive for Influenza A by real time RT-PCR, of which 110 (35.60%) were subtyped as H1N1 and 199 (64.40%) as H3N2. Comparison of the nucleotide (nt) and amino acid (aa) sequences of the HA1 gene for H1N1 and H3N2 strains showed that a subset of strains precede WHO recommended contemporary strains by 1-2 years. The Kolkata H1N1 strains clustered in Clade II, subgroup 2B with A/Brisbane/59/2007 but were distant from the corresponding vaccine strains (New Caledonia/20/99 and A/Solomon Island/3/06). The 2005-06 and 2007 H3N2 strains (15/17) clustered either A/Brisbane/10/2007-like (n=8) or A/Nepal/921/2006 like (n=7) strains, whereas 2008 strains (8/12) and 2009 strains (4/4) were similar to the 2010-11 vaccine strain A/Perth/16/2009. More aa substitutions were found in HA or NA genes of H3N2 than in H1N1 strains. No mutation conferring neuraminidase resistance was observed in any of the strain during 2005-08, however in 2009, drug resistant marker (H275Y) was present in seasonal H1N1, but not in co-circulating H3N2 strains. This is the first report of genetic characterization of circulating Influenza A strains from India. The results also highlight the importance of continuing Influenza surveillance in developing countries of Asia for monitoring unusual strains with pandemic potential and mutations conferring antiviral resistance.