Background: A change of aspartic acid (D) to glycine (G) at position 222 in the haemagglutinin (HA) protein of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 viruses was described in Norway on November 2009 with considerable frequency in fatal and severe cases. This change was detected in other countries and was related only with severe disease. Other substitutions to glutamic acid (E) or asparagine (N) at position 222 were detected among pandemic viruses but it is unclear what implications might have in terms of severity. Objectives: To analyse the appearance of amino acid substitutions at position 222 in the HA protein of circulating viruses in Spain and to determine their relationships with the disease symptoms observed. Study design: Pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 viruses detected in respiratory samples of 273 severe and 533 non-severe cases from different Spanish regions were selected for sequencing of a partial segment of HA1 subunit and studied to monitor substitutions at position 222. Results: D222G substitution was only detected in viruses from 14 severe cases (5.12%). D222E was found in viruses from 47 severe (17.21%) and from 52 non-severe cases (9.75%). D222N occurred in viruses from 3 additional severe cases (0.37%). Conclusion: Appearance of D222G and D222E substitution in HA of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) viruses circulating in Spain might be related with severe respiratory disease.
- D222G substitution
- Haemagglutinin sequencing
- Pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus
- Severe respiratory infection