Virology Journal 2012, 9:148 doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-148Published: 6 August 2012
Three influenza pandemics outbroke in the last century accompanied the viral antigen shift and drift, resulting in the change of antigenic property and the low cross protective ability of the existed antibody to the newly emerged pandemic virus, and eventually the death of millions of people. The antigenic characterizations of the viruses isolated in central China in 2004 and 2006-2007 were investigated in the present study.
Hemagglutinin inhibition assay and neutralization assay displayed differential antigenic characteristics of the viruses isolated in central China in two periods (2004 and 2006-2007). HA genes of the viruses mainly located in two branches in phylogeny analysis. 53 mutations of the deduced amino acids of the HA genes were divided into 4 patterns. Mutations in pattern 2 and 3 showed the main difference between viruses isolated in 2004 and 2006-2007. Meanwhile, most amino acids in pattern 2 and 3 located in the globular head of the HA protein, and some of the mutations evenly distributed at the epitope sites.
The study demonstrated that a major antigenic drift had occurred in the viruses isolated in central China. And monitoring the antigenic property should be the priority in preventing the potential pandemic of H5N1 avian influenza virus.