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England H3N2 Has Abolished HA Glycosylation Site
Recombinomics Commentary 23:55
January 3, 2013

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has released recent H3N2 sequences from Newcastle (A/ENG/574/2012, collected October 22 and A/ENG/570/2012, collected October 23).  The HA sequences from both isolates are identical and closely related to A/Iowa/14/2012, which the CDC has designated as a low reactor.  Like the Iowa isolate, the HPA sequences have T128A, which abolishes the glycosylation site at position 126, which was also present in the Fujian-like H3N2 target, A/Wyoming/3/2003 used in the 2004/2005 season, (A/reassortant/NYMC X-147)

This change, as well as the associated changes in the Iowa isolate, is widespread in the United States, signaling serious vaccine failures, CDC FluView claims of matches in 99.3% of H3N2 sequences not withstanding.  H3N2 is rapidly spreading in the United States, leading to physician claims of vaccine failures.  In addition to the presence of these changes in 2 of 2 recent sequences from England, these changes are also common in Japan and Taiwan raising additional concerns that these changes found in a sequence designated by the CDC as a low reactor, have spread throughout the northern hemisphere.

In addition to A/Victoria/361-like sequences with T128A, the second low reactor, A/Hawaii/29/2012, with L157S is also raising concerns.  Today the CDC released sequences for A/Hawaii/22/2012 X-225A which is being tested as a new H3N2 vaccine target which has L157S.

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