Nordgren J, Sharma S, Bucardo F, Nasir W, Günaydın G, Ouermi D, Nitiema LW, Becker-Dreps S, Simpore J, Hammarström L, Larson G, Svensson L
Clin. Infect. Dis. 59 (11) 1567-1573 [2014-12-01; online 2014-08-07]
The live oral rotavirus (RV) vaccines have shown a reduced efficacy in Africa. Recent in vitro studies have shown binding of the RV surface protein (VP4) to histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) in an RV genotype-dependent manner, suggesting them to be putative receptors for RV. The diversity of HBGA phenotypes in different ethnic populations, combined with prevalence/absence of specific RV genotypes, led us to hypothesize whether the genetic variations in HBGAs in a population limit susceptibility to certain RV genotypes, plausibly leading to reduced vaccine efficacy. Association between HBGAs status and susceptibility to RV P genotypes was investigated in children in Burkina Faso and Nicaragua. In total, 242 children with diarrhea in Burkina Faso and Nicaragua were investigated, 93 of whom were RV positive. In Burkina Faso, the P RV strains (n = 27) infected only Lewis- and secretor-positive children (27/27; P < .0001), but no Lewis-negative children. In contrast, the P strains (n = 27) infected predominantly Lewis-negative children (n = 18; P < .0001) but also Lewis-positive children, irrespective of their secretor status. The results from Nicaragua confirmed that all P-infected children (n = 22) were secretor Lewis positive. As VP4 of genotype P is a component of current RV vaccines, our finding that Lewis-negative children are resistant to P strains provides a plausible explanation for the reduced vaccine efficacy in populations with a high percentage of Lewis-negative individuals, such as in Africa. Furthermore, our findings provide a plausible explanation as to why P RV strains are more common in Africa.