Long-term evolution and transmission dynamics of swine influenza A virus.
Vijaykrishna D., Smith GJD., Pybus OG., Zhu H., Bhatt S., Poon LLM., Riley S., Bahl J., Ma SK., Cheung CL., Perera RAPM., Chen H., Shortridge KF., Webby RJ., Webster RG., Guan Y., Peiris JSM.
Swine influenza A viruses (SwIV) cause significant economic losses in animal husbandry as well as instances of human disease and occasionally give rise to human pandemics, including that caused by the H1N1/2009 virus. The lack of systematic and longitudinal influenza surveillance in pigs has hampered attempts to reconstruct the origins of this pandemic. Most existing swine data were derived from opportunistic samples collected from diseased pigs in disparate geographical regions, not from prospective studies in defined locations, hence the evolutionary and transmission dynamics of SwIV are poorly understood. Here we quantify the epidemiological, genetic and antigenic dynamics of SwIV in Hong Kong using a data set of more than 650 SwIV isolates and more than 800 swine sera from 12 years of systematic surveillance in this region, supplemented with data stretching back 34 years. Intercontinental virus movement has led to reassortment and lineage replacement, creating an antigenically and genetically diverse virus population whose dynamics are quantitatively different from those previously observed for human influenza viruses. Our findings indicate that increased antigenic drift is associated with reassortment events and offer insights into the emergence of influenza viruses with epidemic potential in swine and humans.