Evidence for viral interference and cross-reactive protective immunity between influenza B virus lineages

Karen L. Laurie, William Horman, Louise A. Carolan, Kok Fei Chan, Daniel Layton, Andrew Bean, Dhanasekaran Vijaykrishna, Patrick C. Reading, James M. McCaw, Ian G. Barr

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Two influenza B virus lineages, B/Victoria and B/Yamagata, cocirculate in the human population. While the lineages are serologically distinct, cross-reactive responses to both lineages have been detected. Viral interference describes the situation whereby infection with one virus limits infection and replication of a second virus. We investigated the potential for viral interference between the influenza B virus lineages. Methods. Ferrets were infected and then challenged 3, 10, or 28 days later with pairs of influenza B/Victoria and B/Yamagata viruses. Results. Viral interference occurred at challenge intervals of 3 and 10 days and occasionally at 28 days. At the longer interval, shedding of challenge virus was reduced, and this correlated with cross-reactive interferon γ responses from lymph nodes from virus-infected animals. Viruses from both lineages could prevent or significantly limit subsequent infection with a virus from the other lineage. Coinfections were rare, indicating the potential for reassortment between lineages is limited. Conclusions. These data suggest that innate and cross-reactive immunity mediate viral interference and that this may contribute to the dominance of a specific influenza B virus lineage in any given influenza season. Furthermore, infection with one influenza B virus lineage may be beneficial in protecting against subsequent infection with either influenza B virus lineage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-559
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018


  • Cross-protection
  • Dominance
  • Ferret
  • Influenza
  • Influenza B
  • Lineage
  • Viral interference

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