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Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Year: 2008  |  Volume: 46  |  Issue: 4  |  Page No.: 1343 - 1348

Emergence of G12 Rotavirus Strains in Delhi, India, in 2000 to 2007

S. Sharma, P. Ray, J. R. Gentsch, R. I. Glass, V. Kalra and M. K. Bhan    

Abstract: The prospect that rotavirus diarrhea in children may soon be prevented by vaccines has placed a new priority on understanding the diversity of rotavirus strains and the mechanism by which these strains evolve over time. We have characterized a total of 465 rotavirus strains collected in North India from 2000 to 2007 for G and P types by reverse transcription-PCR and sequencing. The novel G12 rotavirus strains recently detected in other countries were first detected in India in 2001 and have emerged as the predominant strains in Delhi, India, during 2005 to 2007. While the VP7 sequence was highly homologous among G12 strains isolated in Delhi, suggesting recent emergence from a common ancestor, the strains had a diverse constellation of other gene segments, demonstrating substantial reassortment. For the entire period, the common rotavirus G types G1 (26%), G2 (25%), and G9 (14%) comprised 65% of the strains, and common P types, P[4] (19%), P[6] (22%), and P[8] (35%), comprised 76% of the total P types. Of note, we detected a high percentage of unusual (17%) strains and fecal specimens with mixed (12% G and 15% P) rotavirus infections having a variety of genomic constellations. For the first time, we identified two novel rotavirus strains with unusual G/P combinations, G2P[11] and G3P[11], in patients with diarrhea. The study highlights the great diversity among rotaviruses isolated from Indian children, the opportunity for genetic reassortment between strains, and the emergence of a novel G12 strain in our country. Due to the demonstrated effect of antigenic diversity on rotavirus vaccines, it will be important to continue careful monitoring of these strains as rotavirus vaccine programs are implemented in India.

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