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Virologica Sinica, 32 (6) : 511, 2017
Research Article
Detection, isolation, and characterization of chikungunya viruses associated with the Pakistan outbreak of 2016–2017
1. Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430071, China
2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
3. School of Life Science, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150036, China
4. Centre of Excellence in Science and Applied Technology, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
5. State Key Laboratory of Virology, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430071, China
 Correspondence: zhangbo@wh.iov.cn
The chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted alphavirus, which has infected millions of people in Africa, Asia, Americas, and Europe since it reemerged in India and Indian Ocean regions in 2005–2006. Starting in the middle of November 2016, CHIKV has been widely spread, and more than 4,000 cases of infections in humans were confirmed in Pakistan. Here, we report the first isolation and characterization of CHIKV from the Pakistan outbreak. Eight CHIKV strains were newly isolated from human serum samples using a cell culture procedure. A full-length genome sequence and eight complete envelope (E1) sequences of CHIKV from Pakistan were obtained in this study. Alignment of the CHIKV E1 sequences revealed that the eight new CHIKV isolates were highly homogeneous, with only two nonsynonymous substitutions found at generally conserved sites (E99 and Q235). Based on the comparison of 342 E1 sequences, the two nonsynonymous mutations were located in well-recognized domains associated with viral functions such as the cell fusion and vector specificity, suggesting their potential functional importance. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the CHIKV strains from Pakistan originated from CHIKV circulating in the Indian region. This study helps elucidate the epidemics of CHIKV in Pakistan and also provides a foundation for studies of evolution and expansion of CHIKV in South Asia.
Received: 4 Sep 2017  Accepted: 12 Dec 2017  Published online: 21 Dec 2017
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