Vaccine evaluation and genotype characterization in children infected with rotavirus in Qatar
Al Khatib, Hebah A.
Al Ibrahim, Malak
Al Ansari, Khalid
Smatti, Maria K.
Nasrallah, Gheyath K.
Al Thani, Asmaa A.
Yassine, Hadi M.
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Background: We characterized and identified the genetic and antigenic variations of circulating rotavirus strains in comparison to used rotavirus vaccines. Methods: Rotavirus-positive samples (n = 231) were collected and analyzed. The VP7 and VP4 genes were sequenced and analyzed against the rotavirus vaccine strains. Antigenic variations were illustrated on the three-dimensional models of surface proteins. Results: In all, 59.7% of the hospitalized children were vaccinated, of which only 57.2% received two doses. There were no significant differences between the vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups in terms of clinical outcome. The G3 was the dominant genotype (40%) regardless of vaccination status. Several amino acid changes were identified in the VP7 and VP4 antigenic epitopes compared to the licensed vaccines. The highest variability was seen in the G3 (6 substitutions) and P (11 substitutions) genotypes in comparison to RotaTeq®. In comparison to Rotarix®, G1 strains possessed three amino acid changes in 7-1a and 7-2 epitopes while P strains possessed five amino acid changes in 8-1 and 8-3 epitopes. Conclusions: The current use of Rotarix® vaccine might not be effective in preventing the infection due to the higher numbers of G3-associated cases. The wide range of mutations in the antigenic epitopes compared to vaccine strains may compromise the vaccine’s effectiveness. Impact: The reduced rotavirus vaccine effectiveness necessitate regular evaluation of the vaccine content to ensure optimal protection.We characterized and identified the genetic and antigenic variations of circulating rotavirus strains in comparison to the Rotarix vaccine strain that is used in Qatar.The study highlight the importance for regular monitoring of emerging rotavirus variants and their impact on vaccine effectiveness in young children.
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