1887

Abstract

Historically, the Wa-like strains of human group A rotavirus (RVA) have been major causes of gastroenteritis. However, since the 2010s, the circulation of non-Wa-like strains has been increasingly reported, indicating a shift in the molecular epidemiology of RVA. Although understanding RVA evolution requires the analysis of both current and historical strains, comprehensive pre-1980’s sequencing data are scarce globally. We determined the whole-genome sequences of representative strains from six RVA gastroenteritis outbreaks observed at an infant home in Sapporo, Japan, between 1981 and 1989. These outbreaks were mainly caused by G1 or G3 Wa-like strains, resembling strains from the United States in the 1970s–1980s and from Malawi in the 1990s. Phylogenetic analysis of these infant home strains, together with Wa-like strains collected worldwide from the 1970s to 2020, revealed a notable trend: pre-2010 strains diverged into multiple lineages in many genomic segments, whereas post-2010 strains tended to converge into a single lineage. However, Bayesian skyline plot indicated near-constant effective population sizes from the 1970s to 2020, and selection pressure analysis identified positive selection only at amino acid 75 of NSP2. These results suggest that evidence supporting the influence of rotavirus vaccines, introduced globally since 2006, on Wa-like RVA molecular evolution is lacking at present, and phylogenetic analysis may simply reflect natural fluctuations in RVA molecular evolution. Evaluating the long-term impact of RV vaccines on the molecular evolution of RVA requires sustained surveillance.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (Award JP14fk0108004)
    • Principle Award Recipient: NotApplicable
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2024-06-05
2024-06-17
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