Distinct molecular evolution of influenza H3N2 strains in the 2016/17 season and its implications for vaccine effectiveness

Jin Il Kim, Sehee Park, Hyuk Chu, Ilseob Lee, Joon Yong Bae, Kirim Yoo, Juwon Kim, Joo Yeon Lee, Namju Lee, Miseon Kim, Jun Sub Kim, Kyung Wook Hong, Kyung Ran Jun, Jeong Nyeo Lee, Kisoon Kim, Man Seong Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Influenza virus is a respiratory pathogen that causes seasonal epidemics by resulting in a considerable number of influenza-like illness (ILI) patients. During the 2016/17 season, ILI rates increased unusually earlier and higher than previous seasons in Korea, and most viral isolates were subtyped as H3N2 strains. Notably, the hemagglutinin (HA) of most Korean H3N2 strains retained newly introduced lysine signatures in HA antigenic sites A and D, compared with that of clade 3C.2a vaccine virus, which affected antigenic distances to the standard vaccine antisera in a hemagglutination inhibition assay. The neuraminidase (NA) of Korean H3N2 strains also harbored amino acid mutations. However, neither consistent amino acid mutations nor common phylogenetic clustering patterns were observed. These suggest that Korean H3N2 strains of the 2016/17 season might be distantly related with the vaccine virus both in genotypic and phenotypic classifications, which would adversely affect vaccine effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-34
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Hemagglutinin
  • Influenza
  • Molecular evolution
  • Neuraminidase
  • Vaccine effectiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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