Re-emergence of amantadine-resistant variants among highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses in Egypt
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© 2016 Elsevier B.V. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus continues to undergo substantial evolution. Emergence of antiviral resistance among H5N1 avian influenza viruses is a major challenge in the control of pandemic influenza. Numerous studies have focused on the genetic and evolutionary dynamics of the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase genes; however, studies on the susceptibility of HPAI H5N1 viruses to amantadine and genetic diversity of the matrix (M) gene are limited. Accordingly, we studied the amantadine susceptibility of the HPAI H5N1 viruses isolated in Egypt during 2006–2015 based on genotypic and phenotypic characteristics. We analyzed data on 253 virus sequences and constructed a phylogenetic tree to calculate selective pressures on sites in the M2 gene associated with amantadine-resistance among different clades. Selection pressure was identified in the transmembrane domain of M2 gene at positions 27 and 31. Amantadine-resistant variants emerged in 2007 but were not circulating between 2012 and 2014. By 2015, amantadine-resistant HPAI H5N1 viruses re-emerged. This may be associated with the uncontrolled prescription of amantadine for prophylaxis and control of avian influenza infections in the poultry farm sector in Egypt. More epidemiological research is required to verify this observation.
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