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H. haemolyticus is often misidentified as NTHi due to their close phylogenetic relationship. Differentiating between the two is important for correct identification and appropriate treatment of infective organism and to ensure any role of H. haemolyticus in disease is not being overlooked. Speciation however is not completely reliable by culture and PCR methods due to the loss of haemolysis by H. haemolyticus and the heterogeneity of NTHi. Haemophilus isolates from COPD as part of the AERIS study (ClinicalTrials - NCT01360398) were speciated by analysing sequence data for the presence of molecular markers. Further investigation into the genomic relationship was carried out using average nucleotide identity and phylogeny of allelic and genome alignments. Only 6.3% were identified as H. haemolyticus. Multiple in silico methods were able to distinguish H. haemolyticus from NTHi. However, no single gene target was found to be 100% accurate. A group of omp2 negative NTHi were observed to be phylogenetically divergent from H. haemolyticus and remaining NTHi. The presence of an atypical group from a geographically and disease limited set of isolates supports the theory that the heterogeneity of NTHi may provide a genetic continuum between NTHi and H. haemolyticus.

Original publication




Journal article


Scientific Reports

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