B/Singapore/222/79-like influenza viruses isolated from three patients during the winter of 1981 to 1982 and cultured in either embryonated hens' eggs or MDCK cells were studied. Sequence analysis indicated that the haemagglutinin (HA) genes of the six virus preparations contained at least four distinct HA1 sequences which differed by up to six amino acids. Only one pair of viruses had amino acid differences between the egg- and MDCK cell-derived viral subpopulations and this change did not affect a glycosylation site. Mice infected with previously described recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing either the egg- or MDCK cell-derived HA of B/England/222/82 developed neutralizing antibodies against all of the 1982 type B viruses and were protected against intranasal challenge with these viruses. Therefore, in this model system, the minor sequence variation between the HAs of egg- and MDCK cell-derived influenza B/England/222/82 virus had no detectable effect on the induction of cross-protection.


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