Implications of viral genomic variability for RSV immunisation programs

Vicente Mas, Nair H, Campbell H, Melero JA, Williams TC. Antigenic and sequence variability of the human respiratory syncytial virus F glycoproteincompared to related viruses in a comprehensive dataset. Vaccine. 2018 Oct 3. pii: S0264-410X(18)31325-2. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.09.056; in press.


In this study Williams and colleagues examined variability in the RSV F glycoprotein from published data virus strains sequenced in different locations worldwide. Looking at the specific parts of the protein targeted by human antibodies, they compared variability at these sites to that in the closely related viruses bovine RSV and human metapneumovirus. They found some regions that were very similar between related viruses, suggesting that these were evolutionarily conserved and therefore might be good targets for future vaccines, and other areas that were highly variable, suggesting a high degree of evolutionary change, that might therefore be less effective targets for immunisation campaigns. They concluded by recommending that efforts should be made to establish a global baseline dataset to identify potential evolutionary changes in the virus driven by any immunisation programs, and have in fact already taken steps towards this. The DIVERGE (Diversity in RSV Genomes) consortium, led by researchers at the UoE, is already sequencing samples from 6 countries around the world to improve our understanding of RSV genetic variability: The output from this sequencing project will contribute towards discussions amongst stakeholders about which type of RSV vaccines are most likely to be effective in reducing the burden of this global disease.

Abstract on Pubmed.