Whole genome characterization of human influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses isolated from Kenya during the 2009 pandemic_Abstract
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Abstract

An influenza pandemic caused by a novel influenza virus A(H1N1)pdm09 spread worldwide in 2009 and is estimated to have caused between 151,700 and 575,400 deaths globally. While whole genome data on new virus enables a deeper insight in the pathogenesis, epidemiology, and drug sensitivities of the circulating viruses, there are relatively limited complete genetic sequences available for this virus from African countries. We describe herein the full genome analysis of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses isolated in Kenya between June 2009 and August 2010. A total of 40 influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses isolated during the pandemic were selected. The segments from each isolate were amplified and directly sequenced. The resulting sequences of individual gene segments were concatenated and used for subsequent analysis. These were used to infer phylogenetic relationships and also to reconstruct the time of most recent ancestor, time of introduction into the country, rates of substitution and to estimate a time-resolved phylogeny. The Kenyan complete genome sequences clustered with globally distributed clade 2 and clade 7 sequences but local clade 2 viruses did not circulate beyond the introductory foci while clade 7 viruses disseminated country wide. The time of the most recent common ancestor was estimated between April and June 2009, and distinct clusters circulated during the pandemic. The complete genome had an estimated rate of nucleotide substitution of 4.9×10(-3) substitutions/site/year and greater diversity in surface expressed proteins was observed. We show that two clades of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus were introduced into Kenya from the UK and the pandemic was sustained as a result of importations. Several closely related but distinct clusters co-circulated locally during the peak pandemic phase but only one cluster dominated in the late phase of the pandemic suggesting that it possessed greater adaptability.

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