Tamiflu in the Water Resistance Dynamics of Influenza A Virus in Mallards Exposed to Oseltamivir
Sammanfattning: The natural reservoir of influenza A virus (IAV) is wild waterfowl, and all human IAVs have their genetic origins from avian viruses. Neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) are currently the best drugs for treatment of human influenza; therefore, the orally available NAI oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) has been stockpiled worldwide as part of pandemic preparedness planning. Re-sistance to NAIs is related to worse clinical outcomes and if a new pandemic influenza virus would be oseltamivir-resistant its public health impact would be substantially worsened.The active metabolite oseltamivir carboxylate (OC) is not removed by sewage treatment and ends up in river water, where OC-concentrations up to 0.86µg/L have been detected.We hypothesize that occasional OC exposure of wild waterfowl carrying IAVs may result in circulation of resistant variants that may potentially evolve to become human-pathogenic.We tested the hypothesis in an in vivo Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) model in which birds were infected with avian IAVs and exposed to OC. Excreted viruses were analyzed regarding genotypic and phenotypic resistance by neuraminidase (NA) sequencing and a functional NA inhibition assay.Two viruses with NAs of the phylogenetic N2-group, H6N2 and H7N9, acquired the NA substitutions R292K and I222T when host ducks were exposed to 12µg/L and 2.5µg/L of OC, respectively. Drug susceptibilities were at previously described levels for the substitutions. To test persistence of resistance, an OC resistant avian H1N1/H274Y virus (with a group N1 NA-protein) from a previous study, and three resistant H6N2/R292K variants were allowed to replicate in Mallards without drug pressure. Resistance was entirely maintained in the H1N1/H274Y virus, but the H6N2/R292K variants were outcompeted by wild type virus, indicating retained fitness of the resistant H1N1 but not the H6N2 variants.We conclude that OC in the environment may generate resistant IAVs in wild birds. Resistant avian IAVs may become a problem to humans, should the resistance trait become part of a new human pathogenic virus. It implies a need for prudent use of available NAIs, optimized sewage treatment and resistance surveillance of avian IAVs of wild birds.
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