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The influenza A components of live attenuated vaccines used in Russia have been prepared as reassortants of the cold-adapted (ca) H2N2 viruses, A/Leningrad/134/17/57-ca (Len/17) and A/Leningrad/134/47/57-ca (Len/47), and virulent epidemic strains. The lesions responsible for attenuation within the six internal genes of each donor strain have been sequenced and described, but relatively little is known as to their stability before and after passage in susceptible hosts. In the work reported in this paper, RT-PCR restriction analysis and limited sequencing of individual genes were used to evaluate the stability of lesions in stocks of the both donor strains after passage in ferrets, which have been used widely as susceptible hosts for assessment of the virulence of influenza strains. Len/47 was shown to possess expected lesions by RT-PCR and restriction analysis. Substitution at position 1066 of the NP gene, which has been previously reported to be unique to Len/47 [Klimov et al., Virology 186 (1992) 795], was also shown to be present in all clones of Len/17. This change was confirmed by limited sequence analysis and was shown to be retained in progeny viruses isolated from the lungs and turbinates of inoculated ferrets. Two other changes in the PB2 and PB1 genes that were present in Len/47 were detected by limited sequence analysis alone. Further previously unreported minor changes were shown to be present for Len/17 and Len/47, but not both, and their significance is unknown. Limited replication of each donor strain occurred in ferrets and minimal clinical signs and histopathology were present. By contrast, the parental strain Len/57 and the recent epidemic strain A/Sydney/6/97 induced clinical signs and histopathology that were typical of influenza disease.