While working overnight at a swine exhibition, we identified an influenza A virus (IAV) outbreak in swine, Nanopore sequenced 13 IAV genomes from samples we collected, and predicted in real time that these viruses posed a novel risk to humans due to genetic mismatches between the viruses and current prepandemic candidate vaccine viruses (CVVs). We developed and used a portable IAV sequencing and analysis platform called Mia (Mobile Influenza Analysis) to complete and characterize full-length consensus genomes approximately 18 h after unpacking the mobile lab.

Exhibition swine are a known source for zoonotic transmission of IAV to humans and pose a potential pandemic risk. Genomic analyses of IAV in swine are critical to understanding this risk, the types of viruses circulating in swine, and whether current vaccines developed for use in humans would be predicted to provide immune protection.

Nanopore sequencing technology has enabled genome sequencing in the field at the source of viral outbreaks or at the bedside or pen-side of infected humans and animals. The acquired data, however, have not yet demonstrated real-time, actionable public health responses.

The Mia system rapidly identified three genetically distinct swine IAV lineages from three subtypes, A(H1N1), A(H3N2), and A(H1N2). Analysis of the hemagglutinin (HA) sequences of the A(H1N2) viruses identified >30 amino acid differences between the HA1 of these viruses and the most closely related CVV. As an exercise in pandemic preparedness, all sequences were emailed to CDC collaborators who initiated the development of a synthetically derived CVV.

Watch Matthew Keller's LC 2018 talk on MIA

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