Background. P rotaviruses have been circulating with a high prevalence in African and, to a more limited extent, Asian countries, but they have not been highly prevalent in other parts of the world.
Methods. To investigate the genomic relationship between African and Asian human P rotaviruses and P and P rotaviruses circulating worldwide, we sequenced 39 P strains, collected in Ghana, Mali, Kenya and Bangladesh, providing the largest data set of P rotavirus genomes isolated in low-income countries or anywhere else in the world that has been published thus far.
Results. Overall, the data indicate that the genetic backbone of human P strains from the low-income countries are similar to those of P or P strains circulating worldwide.
Conclusions. The observation that gene segment 4 is the main differentiator between human P and non-P strains suggests that the VP4 spike protein is most likely one of the main reasons preventing the rapid spread of P strains to the rest of the world despite multiple introductions. These observations reinforce previous findings about the receptor specificity of P rotavirus strains.