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Co-circulation of dengue virus serotypes in Central India: Evidence of prolonged viremia in DENV-2

Agarwal, Ankita, Gupta, Sudheer, Chincholkar, Tanvi, Singh, Vivek, Umare, Indresh Kumar, Ansari, Kudsia, Paliya, Sonam, Yadav, Ashvini Kumar, Chowdhary, Rashmi, Purwar, Shashank, Biswas, Debasis
Infection, genetics, and evolution 2019 v.70 pp. 72-79
B-lymphocytes, Dengue virus, RNA, T-lymphocytes, antibodies, antigenic variation, binding capacity, cross-sectional studies, cytotoxicity, databases, dengue, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, epitopes, genes, immune evasion, immunoglobulin M, mixed infection, nucleotide sequences, patients, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, serotypes, viremia, India
In view of paucity of information on serotype distribution of Dengue virus (DENV) in Central India, we undertook a cross-sectional study to identify clinical and virological characteristics of DENV serotypes that circulated in this region during the 2016 outbreak. Suspected cases were screened by ELISA for NS1 antigen and anti-DENV IgM antibodies. Serologically confirmed cases were subjected to RT-PCR based detection and serotyping. The RT-PCR results were confirmed by nucleotide sequencing. Genome-wide association was undertaken with DENV sequences from ViPR database and the immune evasion potential of infecting serotypes was ascertained by computing antigenic variability in B cell and Cytotoxic T cell (CTL) epitopes of all DENV proteins. The immunological basis of more prolonged viremia in DENV2-infected patients was also addressed through sequencing of NS2a gene and comparing the CTL activity in NS2a sequences identified among patients with ≤5 days and >5 days of illness. Among 166 serologically confirmed Dengue patients, 75 were positive for DENV RNA. Serotyping revealed predominance of DENV-1 and DENV-2, followed by DENV-3. Co-infection with multiple serotypes was observed in 15.5% of cases. In ~40% cases, DENV RNA was detectable beyond 5 days, among whom majority were DENV-2 infected (p = .044). Highest prevalence of antigenic variability was observed in B cell and CTL epitopes of DENV-2. The potential association between prolonged viremia and higher ability for immune evasion in DENV-2 patients was further corroborated with the observation of poorer HLA-I binding affinity in CTL epitopes observed in NS2a sequences retrieved from patients with >5 days of illness, compared to those with ≤5 days. This is the first report from central India revealing circulation of all DENV serotypes and high prevalence of co-infection with multiple serotypes. We also observed prolonged viremia upon DENV-2 infection, which could be potentially associated with its superior immune evasion potential.