The Evolution of Post-Vaccine G8P[4] Group a Rotavirus Strains in Rwanda; Notable Variance at the Neutralization Epitope Sites

Peter N. Mwangi, Robyn Lee Potgieter, Jeannine Uwimana, Leon Mutesa, Narcisse Muganga, Didier Murenzi, Lisine Tusiyenge, Jason M. Mwenda, Milton T. Mogotsi, Kebareng Rakau, Mathew D. Esona, A. Duncan Steele, Mapaseka L. Seheri, Martin M. Nyaga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Africa has a high level of genetic diversity of rotavirus strains, which is suggested to be a possible reason contributing to the suboptimal effectiveness of rotavirus vaccines in this region. One strain that contributes to this rotavirus diversity in Africa is the G8P[4]. This study aimed to elucidate the entire genome and evolution of Rwandan G8P[4] strains. Illumina sequencing was performed for twenty-one Rwandan G8P[4] rotavirus strains. Twenty of the Rwandan G8P[4] strains had a pure DS-1-like genotype constellation, and one strain had a reassortant genotype constellation. Notable radical amino acid differences were observed at the neutralization sites when compared with cognate regions in vaccine strains potentially playing a role in neutralization escape. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the closest relationship was with East African human group A rotavirus (RVA) strains for five of the genome segments. Two genome sequences of the NSP4 genome segment were closely related to bovine members of the DS-1-like family. Fourteen VP1 and eleven VP3 sequences had the closest relationships with the RotaTeq™ vaccine WC3 bovine genes. These findings suggest that the evolution of VP1 and VP3 might have resulted from reassortment events with RotaTeq™ vaccine WC3 bovine genes. The close phylogenetic relationship with East African G8P[4] strains from Kenya and Uganda suggests co-circulation in these countries. These findings highlight the need for continued whole-genomic surveillance to elucidate the evolution of G8P[4] strains, especially after the introduction of rotavirus vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number658
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • G8P[4]
  • Rwanda
  • rotavirus
  • rotavirus reassortment
  • whole-genome sequencing


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