April 2009 witnessed the emergence of a novel H1N1 influenza A virus infecting the human population. Currently, pandemic and seasonal influenza viruses are co-circulating in human populations. Understanding the course of the emerging pandemic virus is important. It is still unknown how the novel virus co-circulates with or outcompetes seasonal viruses. Sustainable and detailed influenza surveillance is required throughout the world including developing countries. In the present study, a multiplex PCR using four primers was developed, which was designed to differentiate the pandemic H1N1 virus from the seasonal H1N1 and H3N2 viruses, to obtain amplicons of different sizes. Multiplex PCR analysis could clearly differentiate the three subtypes of human influenza A virus. This assay was performed using 206 clinical samples collected in 2009 in Japan. Between February and April, four samples were subtyped as seasonal H1N1 and four as seasonal H3N2. All samples collected after July were subtyped as pandemic H1N1. Currently, pandemic viruses seem to have replaced seasonal viruses almost completely in Japan. This is a highly sensitive method and its cost is low. Influenza surveillance using this assay would provide significant information on the epidemiology of both pandemic and seasonal influenza.
- Multiplex PCR
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