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Molecular evolution, diversity and adaptation of H7N9 viruses in China during 2013-2017

Lu, J; Raghwani, J; Pryce, R; Bowden, T A; Thézé, J; Huang, S; Song, Y; Zou, L; Liang, L; Bai, R; Jing, Y; Zhou, P; Kang, M; Yi, L; Wu, J; Pybus, O G; Ke, C


J Lu

J Raghwani

R Pryce

T A Bowden

J Thézé

S Huang

Y Song

L Zou

L Liang

R Bai

Y Jing

P Zhou

M Kang

L Yi

J Wu

O G Pybus

C Ke


The substantial increase in prevalence and emergence of antigenically divergent or highly pathogenic influenza A(H7N9) viruses during 2016–17 raises concerns about the epizootic potential of these viruses. We investigated the evolution and adaptation of H7N9 viruses by analyzing available data and newly generated virus sequences isolated in Guangdong Province, China, during 2015–2017. Phylogenetic analyses showed that circulating H7N9 viruses belong to distinct lineages with differing spatial distributions. Hemagglutination inhibition assays performed on serum samples from patients infected with these viruses identified 3 antigenic clusters for 16 strains of different virus lineages. We used ancestral sequence reconstruction to identify parallel amino acid changes on multiple separate lineages. We inferred that mutations in hemagglutinin occur primarily at sites involved in receptor recognition or antigenicity. Our results indicate that highly pathogenic strains likely emerged from viruses circulating in eastern Guangdong Province during March 2016 and are associated with a high rate of adaptive molecular evolution.


Lu, J., Raghwani, J., Pryce, R., Bowden, T. A., Thézé, J., Huang, S., …Ke, C. (2018). Molecular evolution, diversity and adaptation of H7N9 viruses in China during 2013-2017.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2018
Publication Date Oct 1, 2018
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 2, 2019
Journal Emerging Infectious Diseases
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 10
Public URL


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