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J Infect Dis. 2011 Jan 15;203(2):168-74. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiq040.

Deep sequencing reveals mixed infection with 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus strains and the emergence of oseltamivir resistance.

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Center for Vaccine Research, Department of Computational and Systems Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Mixed infections with seasonal influenza A virus strains are a common occurrence and an important source of genetic diversity. Prolonged viral shedding, as observed in immunocompromised individuals, can lead to mutational accumulation over extended periods. Recently, drug resistance was reported in immunosuppressed patients infected with the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus within a few days after oseltamivir treatment was initiated. To better understand the evolution and emergence of drug resistance in these circumstances, we used a deep sequencing approach to survey the viral population from an immunosuppressed patient infected with H1N1/2009 influenza and treated with neuraminidase inhibitors. This patient harbored 3 genetic variants from 2 phylogenetically distinct viral clades of pandemic H1N1/2009, strongly suggestive of mixed infection. Strikingly, one of these variants also developed drug resistance de novo in response to oseltamivir treatment. Immunocompromised individuals may, therefore, constitute an important source of genetic and phenotypic diversity, both through mixed infection and de novo mutation.

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