During the 2014-2015 flu season, seasonal influenza A (H3N2) virus was widespread across the globe, causing significant morbidity and mortality. A recent research led by Drs. Taijiao Jiang, Aiping Wu and Yuelong Shu has mapped the antigenic evolution of the influenza A (H3N2) virus during the 2014-2015 winter season.
The article entitled "Antigenic Variation of the Human Influenza A (H3N2) Virus during the 2014-2015 Winter Season", was published online by SCIENCE CHINA Life Sciences. By systematically mapping the antigenic relationships of H3N2 strains isolated during the past five years, the researchers discovered two distinct antigenic groups co-circulated during the 2014-2015 winter season.
They also observed the different epidemic patterns of the two antigenic groups across the globe. Both antigenic groups were in circulation in Europe and the United States during this season, while there was only one group in circulation in mainland China.
These findings have provided a comprehensive understanding of antigenic evolution of the recent H3N2 virus, thus facilitating the formulation of effective vaccine strategy.