Hantavirus: sequence in the complete genome of the Epuyen epithelial strain


Researchers of Anlis Dr. Carlos Malbrán used the first-generation technology for sequencing Credit: Hernán Zenteno

This is the first time all the genetic features of the southern islands are known. this confirms its ability to transmit from person to person

The Southern Andes variant of the Hanta virus that caused the outbreak, still active, of


and its surroundings


, not only can it be transmitted from person to person, but it is similar to what was caused 23 years ago, just 40 kilometers, in Río Negro, El Bolsón.

Since then, this strain has been adapted to survive and this has been done with genetic changes that have strengthened its ability to spread, according to the results of the first analysis of the entire Southern Andean genome known throughout the world. He served the team of Valeria Martinez, the Department of Molecular Biology at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, which is the national reference laboratory for



The virus similarity detected in the samples of 34 people infected since last November is 99.9%. This confirms that the transmission mechanism at
This outbreak was from person to person. At the same time, compared to other Hanta virus strains endemic in the country, the closest resemblance was with the 1996 outbreak strain.

When the first studies on the El Bolsón affairs were published with the common variant in the southern region of Argentina and Chile, hence their name, and which describe their capacity for color transmission, the experts of the current National Laboratory Service and Institutes Health (Anlis) Dr. Carlos Malbrán had information about some viral DNA fragments.

Now with the new generation technologies and the analyzed samples of all the people who have died and died in this outbreak, the team headed by Martínez managed to decipher the complete information of the genetic material of the endemic pathogens that caused the outbreak of the pulmonary syndrome by Hantavirus (SPH) in Epuyén, Trevelín, El Maitén, in Chubut, except El Bolsón and Palena in Chile.

With this data coming from the three parts of the genetic material of the virus, instead of small portions of two of these segments taken so far, we can later explain the differences in patients' immune responses or their relation to some mutations among other issues that need to be studied.

"The outbreak, with unprecedented figures, included 34 cases, of which 12 died – released by Anlis Malbrán this week through a statement on the results achieved." The mortality rate of cases was almost double in women, (40 versus 21.4%). The last cases started with symptoms on the 7th of the month and are still hospitalized. At the end of December, home isolation was imposed on people who had come into contact with confirmed cases. managed to limit a larger extension of the outbreak. "

The way people began to get sick ("clustered cases in a short period of time"), the small number of rodents where they lived, and the information from the environmental study where infections invoked by epidemiologists and zoonoses from the first few weeks the idea that the epidemic exacerbation was from exposure to the virus that the wild rodents are eliminated with urine, stool or saliva.

"The possibility of human-to-human viral spread as previously formulated was suspected early," according to studies published in 1998 and 2005 on the El Bolsón epidemic, where interpersonal transmission was self-limiting and prevented new infections. . In Epuyén and its surroundings, the isolation of more than one hundred people who have been in contact with the sick is, for the health authorities, what restricts the transmission.

"It is one of the most prevalent zoonotic viruses that causes two syndromes mainly: hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, high frequency and low mortality in Asia and Europe and HPS in America, but with lower incidence and higher mortality. somehow, they were offset by these differences, "Martinez explained.

Claudia Perandones, an intervention by Anlis Malbrán, said: "We did not have the complete sequence of the viral genome as it is today, now the level of data is larger." With the previous information, there could be some discrepancy in some parts of the genome. and, as we could not fully evaluate it, we did not know it, today we know all the genetic information of the Southern Andes and it is the first time this data is available. "

The Perandes were in Epuyén and around the group of professionals who sent the Nubis Health Ministry to Chubut
to contain the outbreak. He recalled that the recombinant antigen (a fragment of the virus introduced into a bacterium to be mass-replicated) was last year developed in the national reference laboratory for highly accurate diagnostic tests through the blood sample of a case in which the disease is suspected.

"In addition, Martinez added," avoids manipulation of the virus for routine work with laboratory tests, such as the diagnosis of infection. "

With these results and what will be known, on Anlis Malbrán we believe that an emergency high risk situation should not be repeated because of its ease of transmission, such as that of Epuyén. "This is the opportunity to have perfect data on the southern Andes and improve the alert level and we hope it will help prevent another outbreak," Martínez said.


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