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J Infect Dis. 2020 Jan 1;221(1):63-70. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz418.

Impact of the Baloxavir-Resistant Polymerase Acid I38T Substitution on the Fitness of Contemporary Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2) Strains.

Author information

1
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec-Centre Hospitalier de l'Université Laval and Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Baloxavir is a cap-dependent inhibitor of the polymerase acid (PA) protein of influenza viruses. While appearing virologically superior to oseltamivir, baloxavir exhibits a low barrier of resistance. We sought to assess the impact of the common baloxavir-resistant I38T PA substitution on in vitro properties and virulence.

METHODS:

Influenza A/Quebec/144147/2009 (H1N1)pdm09 and A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2) recombinant viruses and their I38T PA mutants were compared in single and competitive infection experiments in ST6GalI-MDCK cells and C57/BL6 mice. Virus titers in cell culture supernatants and lung homogenates were determined by virus yield assays. Ratios of wild-type (WT) and I38T mutant were assessed by digital RT-PCR.

RESULTS:

I38T substitution did not alter the replication kinetics of A(H1N1)pdm09 and A(H3N2) viruses. In competition experiments, a 50%:50% mixture evolved to 70%:30% (WT/mutant) for A(H1N1) and 88%:12% for A(H3N2) viruses after a single cell passage. The I38T substitution remained stable after 4 passages in vitro. In mice, the WT and its I38T mutant induced similar weight loss with comparable lung titers in both viral subtypes. The mutant virus tended to predominate over the WT in mouse competition experiments.

CONCLUSION:

The fitness of baloxavir-resistant I38T PA mutants appears relatively unaltered in seasonal subtypes warranting surveillance for its dissemination.

KEYWORDS:

A(H1N1)pdm09; A(H3N2); I38T; PA; baloxavir; influenza; resistance

PMID:
31419295
PMCID:
PMC6910874
[Available on 2021-01-01]
DOI:
10.1093/infdis/jiz418

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