Whole-genome analyses identifies multiple reassortant rotavirus strains in rwanda post-vaccine introduction

Sebotsana Rasebotsa, Jeannine Uwimana, Milton T. Mogotsi, Kebareng Rakau, Nonkululeko B. Magagula, Mapaseka L. Seheri, Jason M. Mwenda, M. Jeffrey Mphahlele, Saheed Sabiu, Richard Mihigo, Leon Mutesa, Martin M. Nyaga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Children in low-and middle-income countries, including Rwanda, experience a greater burden of rotavirus disease relative to developed countries. Evolutionary mechanisms leading to multiple reassortant rotavirus strains have been documented over time which influence the diversity and evolutionary dynamics of novel rotaviruses. Comprehensive rotavirus whole-genome analysis was conducted on 158 rotavirus group A (RVA) samples collected pre-and post-vaccine introduction in children less than five years in Rwanda. Of these RVA positive samples, five strains with the genotype constellations G4P[4]-I1-R2-C2-M2-A2-N2-T1-E1-H2 (n = 1), G9P[4]-I1-R2-C2-M2-A1-N1-T1-E1-H1 (n = 1), G12P[8]-I1-R2-C2-M1-A1-N2-T1-E2-H3 (n = 2) and G12P[8]-I1-R1-C1-M1-A2-N2-T2-E1-H1 (n = 1), with double and triple gene reassortant rotavirus strains were identified. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a close relationship between the Rwandan strains and cognate human RVA strains as well as the RotaTeq® vaccine strains in the VP1, VP2, NSP2, NSP4 and NSP5 gene segments. Pairwise analyses revealed multiple differences in amino acid residues of the VP7 and VP4 antigenic regions of the RotaTeq® vaccine strain and representative Rwandan study strains. Although the impact of such amino acid changes on the effectiveness of rotavirus vaccines has not been fully explored, this analysis underlines the potential of rotavirus whole-genome analysis by enhancing knowledge and understanding of intergenogroup reassortant strains circulating in Rwanda post vaccine introduction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number95
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Epitopes
  • Reassortment
  • Rotavirus
  • Vaccine
  • Whole-genome based surveillance


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