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Molecular and phylogenetic analysis of Chikungunya virus in Central India during 2016 and 2017 outbreaks reveal high similarity with recent New Delhi and Bangladesh strains

Agarwal, Ankita, Gupta, Sudheer, Yadav, Ashvini Kumar, Nema, Ram Kumar, Ansari, Kudsia, Biswas, Debasis
Infection, genetics, and evolution 2019 v.75 pp. 103940
Chikungunya virus, RNA, antibodies, cross-sectional studies, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, genes, genetic relationships, genotype, hospitals, immunoglobulin M, molecular epidemiology, monitoring, mutation, patients, phylogeny, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, viruses, Bangladesh, India, Indian Ocean Islands
Central India witnessed Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) outbreaks in 2016 and 2017. The present report is a hospital based cross-sectional study on the serological and molecular epidemiology of the outbreak. Mutational and phylogenetic analysis was conducted to ascertain the genetic relatedness of the central Indian strains with other Indian and global strains. Chikungunya infection was confirmed in the clinically suspected patients by the detection of anti-CHIKV IgM antibody by ELISA and viral RNA by RT-PCR. A representative set of the RT-PCR positive samples were sequenced for E1 gene and analyzed to identify the emerging mutations and establish their phylogenetic relationship, particularly with other contemporary strains. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the present strains to be of East Central South African (ECSA) genotype. Emergence of a variant strain was observed in the year 2016, which became the predominant strain in this region in 2017. The strains showed significant identity with recent New Delhi strains of 2015 and 2016 and Bangladesh strains of 2017. The epidemic mutation A226V which emerged in 2006 outbreaks of India and Indian Ocean Islands was found to be absent in the current strains. Among the important mutations viz. K211E, M269 V, D284E, I317V & V322A observed in the recent strains. I317V is a novel mutation which has emerged very recently as it was found only in central Indian (2016, 2017), New Delhi strains (2015, 2016) and Bangladesh strains (2017). This study has identified a unique mutation E1:I317V in the Central Indian strains, which is present only in recent New Delhi and Bangladesh strains till date. This study highlights the need for continuous molecular surveillance of circulating CHIKV strains in order to facilitate the prompt identification of novel strains of this virus and enable the elucidation of their clinical correlates.