Molecular characterization of haemagglutinin genes of influenza B viruses circulating in Ghana during 2016 and 2017

Alhassan Mohammed Yakubu, Nii Ayite Aryee, Evelyn Yayra Bonney, Erasmus Nikoi Kotey, Joseph Humphrey Kofi Bonney, Michael R. Wiley, Catherine B. Pratt, Grace Korkor Ababio, Shieley Nimo-Paintsil, Naiki Puplampu, Seth Attoh, Raymond D. Fatchu, Edward Owusu Nyarko, Anne Fox, Chaselynn M. Watters, Terrel Sanders, Andrew G. Letizia, William Kwabena Ampofo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent reports of haemagglutinin antigen (HA) mismatch between vaccine composition strains and circulating strains, have led to renewed interest in influenza B viruses. Additionally, there are concerns about resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors in new influenza B isolates. To assess the potential impact in Ghana, we characterized the lineages of influenza B viruses that circulated in Ghana between 2016 and 2017 from different regions of the country: Southern, Northern and Central Ghana. Eight representative specimens from the three regions that were positive for influenza B virus by real-time RT-PCR were sequenced and compared to reference genomes from each lineage. A total of eleven amino acids substitutions were detected in the B/Victoria lineage and six in the B/Yamagata lineage. The strains of influenza B viruses were closely related to influenza B/Brisbane/60/2008 and influenza B/ Phuket/3073/2013 for the Victoria and Yamagata lineages, respectively. Three main amino acid substitutions (P31S, I117V and R151K) were found in B/Victoria lineages circulating between 2016 and 2017, while one strain of B/Victoria possessed a unique glycosylation site at amino acid position 51 in the HA2 subunit. Two main substitutions (L172Q and M251V) were detected in the HA gene of the B/Yamagata lineage. The U.S. CDC recently reported a deletion sub-group in influenza B virus, but this was not identified among the Ghanaian specimens. Close monitoring of the patterns of influenza B evolution is necessary for the efficient selection of representative viruses for the design and formulation of effective influenza vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0271321
JournalPloS one
Issue number9 September
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular characterization of haemagglutinin genes of influenza B viruses circulating in Ghana during 2016 and 2017'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this