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IFNL4 Genotypes Predict Clearance of RNA Viruses in Rwandan Children With Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

Journal article
Authors Belson Rugwizangoga
Maria Andersson
Jean-Claude Kabayiza
Malin S. Nilsson
Brynja Armannsdóttir
Johan Aurelius
Staffan Nilsson
Kristoffer Hellstrand
Magnus Lindh
Anna Martner
Published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Volume 9
ISSN 2235-2988
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Mathematical Sciences
Sahlgrenska Cancer Center
Department of Laboratory Medicine
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Language en
Keywords interferon lambda, infection, single nucleotide polymorphisms, rs12979860, dinucleotide polymorphisms, rs368234815, upper respiratory, tract, RNA virus, hepatitis-c, genetic-variation, lambda-s, il28b, polymorphisms, Immunology, Microbiology
Subject categories Immunology in the medical area, Microbiology in the medical area


Polymorphisms in the interferon lambda gene locus (IFNL) such as the IFNL4 genetic variants rs12979860 and rs368234815 are predictive of resolution of hepatitis C virus infection, but information about the impact of these variants in other infections is scarce. This study aimed at determining the potential impact of IFNL4 variation for the clearance of respiratory tract pathogens in Rwandan children (<= 5 years old, n = 480) seeking medical care for acute respiratory infections. Nasopharyngeal swabs were retrieved from all children at the first hospital referral and from 161 children at follow-up visits 2 weeks later. The swabs were analyzed for pathogens by real-time PCR and for host cell IFNL4 genotype at rs12979860 and rs368234815. Approximately 1/3 of the children were homozygous for the rs12979860 T allele and the rs368234815 Delta G allele, which are overrepresented in subjects of African descent. These IFNL4 variants were significantly associated with reduced clearance of RNA viruses. Our results suggest that IFNL4 genotypes that are common among subjects of African descent may determine inefficacious clearance of RNA viruses from the respiratory tract.

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