Rare Rotavirus Strain Identified In Indonesian Children

Genetic sequencing reveals that a third of the acute gastroenteritis cases affecting children in Indonesia from 2015 to 2016 were caused by a rare strain of rotavirus.

Source: Lowy Institute


AsianScientist (Jun. 12, 2018) – A research group in Japan has found that the strain of rotavirus that infected children in Indonesia between 2015 and 2016 is genetically different from human strains of the virus.

Their work is published in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution. Rotavirus A (RVA) infects both animals and humans worldwide and causes acute diarrhea in young children. RVA consists of 11 segmented genomes.

This segmented nature means that genetic reassortment often occurs, and the virus can evolve into new versions. In 2006, a rotavirus vaccine was developed and used in many countries, but different countries have recently reported varying levels of effectiveness.

This could partly be caused by different dominant strains of the virus. In the present study, scientists led by Professor Ikuo Shoji and Professor Takako Utsumi, both from Kobe University’s Graduate School of Medicine, in collaboration with Professor Kazuhiko Katayama of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan, found that the acute gastroenteritis infecting children in Indonesia between 2015 and 2016 was caused by dominant strains of equine-like G3 rotavirus.

The research team carried out molecular analysis of the rotavirus genome using stool samples from children in Indonesia infected with acute gastroenteritis. For one year, from 2015 to 2016, the group collected stool samples from 134 children under five years old admitted to hospital in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Using immunochromatography, they examined the children for RVA and found that 31.3 percent were RVA antigen-positive. The researchers then discovered that the RVAs were the rare strains G3P[8] and G3P[6].

With further analysis of all 11 strains of the virus using next-generation sequencing, they determined that this was equine-like G3 rotavirus with a DS-1-like genetic backbone.

This strain has also been reported in Australia, Hungary, Spain and Brazil. “Our team now plans to analyze time-dependent changes in Indonesia’s dominant rotavirus strains and clarify how they were transmitted to Indonesia from neighboring countries.

We will also investigate their impact on infection in Japan,” said Shoji. “We will examine samples collected from vaccinated patients, analyze the genetic information of strains that resist vaccine-based immunity, and establish a surveillance system to prevent these strains from entering Japan.”

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