Whole genome analyses of G1P[8] rotavirus strains from vaccinated and non-vaccinated South African children presenting with diarrhea


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Abstract

Group A rotaviruses (RVAs) are the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis and eventually death among infants and young children worldwide, and disease prevention and management through vaccination is a public health priority. In August 2009, Rotarix™ was introduced in the South African Expanded Programme on Immunisation. As a result, substantial reductions in RVA disease burden have been reported among children younger than 5 years old. Rotavirus strain surveillance post-vaccination is crucial to, inter alia, monitor and study the evolution of vaccine escape strains. Here, full-genome sequence data for the 11 gene segments from 11 South African G1P[8] rotavirus strains were generated, including 5 strains collected from non-vaccinated children during the 2004–2009 rotavirus seasons and 6 strains collected from vaccinated children during the 2010 rotavirus season. These data were analyzed to gain insights into the overall genetic makeup and evolution of South African G1P[8] rotavirus strains and to compare their genetic backbones with those of common human Wa-like RVAs from other countries, as well as with the Rotarix™ and RotaTeq™ G1P[8] vaccine components. All 11 South African G1P[8] strains revealed a complete Wa-like genotype constellation of G1-P[8]-I1-R1-C1-M1-A1-N1-T1-E1-H1. On the basis of sequence similarities, the South African G1P[8] strains (with the exception of strain RVA/Human-wt/ZAF/1262/2004/G1P[8]) were closely related to each other (96–100% identity in all gene segments). Comparison to the Rotarix™ and RotaTeq™ G1P[8] vaccine components revealed a moderate nucleotide identity of 89–96% and 93–95%, respectively. The results indicated that none of the gene segments of these 11 South African G1P[8] strains were vaccine-derived. This study illustrates that large-scale next generation sequencing will provide crucial information on the influence of the vaccination program on evolution of rotavirus strains. This is the first report to describe full genomic analyses of G1P[8] RVA strains collected from both non-vaccinated and vaccinated children in South Africa. J. Med. Virol. 87: 79–101, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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