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Isolation and Characterization of Clinical RSV Isolates in Belgium during the Winters of 2016–2018

Laboratory of Microbiology, Parasitology and Hygiene, and Infla-Med Centre of Excellence, University of Antwerp (UA), Universiteitsplein 1 S.7, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium
Pediatrics Department, Antwerp University Hospital (UZA), Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Belgium
Sciensano, Rue Juliette Wytsmanstraat 14, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Laboratory of Experimental Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Antwerp (UA), Univeristeitsplein 1 T.3, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium
Pediatric intensive care unit, Antwerp University Hospital (UZA), Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1031;
Received: 29 July 2019 / Revised: 1 November 2019 / Accepted: 4 November 2019 / Published: 6 November 2019
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a very important viral pathogen in children, immunocompromised and cardiopulmonary diseased patients and the elderly. Most of the published research with RSV was performed on RSV Long and RSV A2, isolated in 1956 and 1961, yet recent RSV isolates differ from these prototype strains. Additionally, these viruses have been serially passaged in cell culture, which may result in adaptations that affect virus–host interactions. We have isolated RSV from mucosal secretions of 12 patients in the winters 2016–2017 and 2017–2018, of which eight RSV-A subtypes and four RSV-B subtypes. Passage 3 of the isolates was assessed for viral replication kinetics and infectious virus production in HEp-2, A549 and BEAS-2B cells, thermal stability at 37 °C, 32 °C and 4 °C, syncytia formation, neutralization by palivizumab and mucin mRNA expression in infected A549 cells. We observed that viruses isolated in one RSV season show differences on the tested assays. Furthermore, comparison with RSV A2 and RSV B1 reveals for some RSV isolates differences in viral replication kinetics, thermal stability and fusion capacity. Major differences are, however, not observed and differences between the recent isolates and reference strains is, overall, similar to the observed variation in between the recent isolates. One clinical isolate (BE/ANT-A11/17) replicated very efficiently in all cell lines, and remarkably, even better than RSV A2 in the HEp-2 cell line. View Full-Text
Keywords: patient-derived virus; RSV; bronchiolitis; mucin patient-derived virus; RSV; bronchiolitis; mucin
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Van der Gucht, W.; Stobbelaar, K.; Govaerts, M.; Mangodt, T.; Barbezange, C.; Leemans, A.; De Winter, B.; Van Gucht, S.; Caljon, G.; Maes, L.; De Dooy, J.; Jorens, P.; Smet, A.; Cos, P.; Verhulst, S.; Delputte, P.L. Isolation and Characterization of Clinical RSV Isolates in Belgium during the Winters of 2016–2018. Viruses 2019, 11, 1031.

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