Vol 67, No 2 (2022)

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Genetic diversity of the mumps viruses (Paramyxoviridae: Orthorubulavirus: Mumps orthorubulavirus): an overview

Chekhlyaeva T.S., Erokhov D.V., Andrievskaya I.Y., Zherdeva P.E., Tikhonova N.T.


Mumps is an infectious disease controlled by specific vaccine prophylaxis. To date, its social and epidemiological significance remains high. This is evidenced by the process of developing and implementing into the health care practices of many countries a set of measures for surveillance of mumps. In the Russian Federation, the National Program «Elimination of measles and rubella and achievement of sporadic morbidity with epidemic mumps in the Russian Federation (2021–2025)» and the national plan for its implementation were adopted in 2021. The basis for the adoption of these documents was the development of the domestic trivalent vaccine for the prevention of measles, rubella and mumps, Vaktrivir, and the start of its clinical application. The availability of this vaccine will make the epidemiological surveillance of mumps to be a part of the existing system of appropriate measures for measles and rubella. The fulfillment of this set of tasks involves the study of the molecular epidemiology of the mumps virus (MuV) with possible subsequent implementation of its methodology into the surveillance actions. In this connection, this work was aimed at presenting the data on global genetic diversity of MuV as well as its genotyping methods in a systematized form. The analysis of MuV global genetic diversity in different years will be the starting point in the subsequent development of approach to monitoring virus strains circulating in the Russian Federation.

Problems of Virology. 2022;67(2):95-106
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Anti-rabies vaccines applied in the Russian Federation and perspectives for their improvement

Elakov A.L.


Rabies is almost ubiquitous (except in certain areas) and poses a significant danger to both animals and humans. Every year around 55,000 people die from this disease worldwide. In the Russian Federation alone 400,000– 

450,000 patients annually apply for anti-rabies treatment. In the absolute majority of cases human infection is caused by contact with infected animals. In RF, a number of cultured inactivated anti-rabies vaccines for medical and veterinary purposes have been developed, registered and used for specific prevention of rabies. These vaccine preparations have shown high effectiveness in preventing infection in domestic and farm animals. At the same time, the main reservoir of the rabies virus (Mononegavirales: Rhabdoviridae: Lyssavirus) (RV) are wild carnivores (Mammalia: Carnivora). For the purpose of their oral immunization, live virus vaccines from attenuated (fixed) strains of RV that are little resistant in the external environment are used. In Western Europe and North America there is successful experience with recombinant anti-rabies vaccine preparations containing a viral glycoprotein gene (G-protein). Such vaccines are safe for humans and animals. In Russia also had been developed a vector anti-rabies vaccine based on adenovirus (Adenoviridae), which can be used to combat this infection. Currently, in addition to classical rabies, diseases caused by new, previously unknown lyssaviruses (Lyssavirus) are becoming increasingly important. Bats (Mammalia: Microchiroptera) are their vectors. Cases of illness and death after contact with these animals have been described. In the near future, we should expect the development of new vaccines that will provide protection not only against RV, but also against other lyssaviruses.

Problems of Virology. 2022;67(2):107-114
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The problem of the use of interferons in the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 (Coronaviridae: Coronavirinae: Betacoronavirus: Sarbecovirus)

Ershov F.I., Narovlyansky A.N.


By the end of 2021, about 200 studies on the effect of interferons (IFNs) on the incidence and course of the new coronavirus infection COVID-19 (Coronaviridae: Coronavirinae: Betacoronavirus: Sarbecovirus) have been reported worldwide, with the number of such studies steadily increasing. This review discusses the main issues of the use of IFN drugs in this disease. The literature search was carried out in the PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, RSCI databases, as well as in the Google Scholar preprint database using the available search queries «MeSH for coronavirus», «SARS-CoV-2», «IFN drugs», and «COVID-19». Interferon therapy is indicated for early administration (within the first 5 days of patient admission) in cases of mild to moderate COVID-19 to take advantage of the narrow therapeutic window of IFNs action. Control and suppression of viral replication requires therapy with IFNs and other effective antiviral agents that inhibit the reproduction of SARS-CoV-2 and induce several interferon-stimulated genes (ISG). Type I IFNs (IFN-I) exhibit potent pro-inflammatory properties and activate a wide variety of different cell types that respond to IFNs stimulation and pathogen entry. IFN-III confer local mucosal antiviral immunity without inducing the strong systemic pro-inflammatory responses associated with IFN-I. The use of IFNs drugs in the therapy of new coronavirus infection requires a cautious and differentiated approach, because in severe cases they can aggravate viral pathogenesis by causing excessive intensity of inflammatory reactions. The unique biological properties of substances of this class allow us to consider them as therapeutic agents with significant potential for use in patients with COVID-19.

Problems of Virology. 2022;67(2):115-125
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Bromhexine is a potential drug for COVID-19; From hypothesis to clinical trials

Bahadoram S., Keikhaei B., Bahadoram M., Mahmoudian-Sani M., Hassanzadeh S., Saeedi-Boroujeni A., Alikhani K.


COVID-19 (novel coronavirus disease 2019), caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has various clinical manifestations and several pathogenic pathways. Although several therapeutic options have been used to control COVID-19, none of these medications have been proven to be a definitive cure. Transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) is a protease that has a key role in the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into host cells. Following the binding of the viral spike (S) protein to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors of the host cells, TMPRSS2 processes and activates the S protein on the epithelial cells. As a result, the membranes of the virus and host cell fuse. Bromhexine is a specific TMPRSS2 inhibitor that potentially inhibits the infectivity cycle of SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, several clinical trials are evaluating the efficacy of bromhexine in COVID-19 patients. The findings of these studies have shown that bromhexine is effective in improving the clinical outcomes of COVID-19 and has prophylactic effects by inhibiting TMPRSS2 and viral penetration into the host cells. Bromhexine alone cannot cure all of the symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, it could be an effective addition to control and prevent the disease progression along with other drugs that are used to treat COVID-19. Further studies are required to investigate the efficacy of bromhexine in COVID-19.

Problems of Virology. 2022;67(2):126-132
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Comparative analysis of residual neurovirulence of vaccine and low attenuated rubella virus (Matonaviridae: Rubivirus: Rubella virus) strains in the experiments on the macaque rhesus (Macaca mulatta) monkeys

Shamsutdinova O.A., Bulgin D.V., Karal-ogly D.D., Lavrentieva I.N., Klots I.N.


Introduction. Rubella is currently an infection controlled by specific prophylaxis. Not only the right vaccine prophylaxis strategy and tactics, but also the use of effective and safe vaccine preparations is crucial for the elimination of this disease.

The aim of the investigation was to study the morphological and pathogenetic patterns of changes developing in the central nervous system (CNS) and internal organs of monkeys (Haplorhini) during intracerebral inoculation with 2 strains of rubella virus (Matonaviridae: Rubivirus: Rubella virus) (RV): highly attenuated Orlov-B, and low attenuated Orlov-14.

Material and methods. In the experiments, seronegative rhesus macaque monkeys (Macaca mulatta) weighing 3.3–5.1 kg (n = 7) were used. Neurovirulence of the strains was determined by a complex of clinical, pathomorphological, and virological methods.

Results and discussion. It was found that during attenuation, the Orlov-B strain lost the ability to replicate in CNS cells and induce moderate/expressed specific changes in them, as well as to overcome the blood-brain barrier and cause the damage of sensitive organs and tissues. This fact indicates a low level of residual neurovirulence of the vaccine strain.

Conclusion. The results obtained in this study regarding the clinical symptoms of CNS lesions and the nature of the pathological process in its tissues in experimental animals can be significant for the improvement of safety control of live rubella vaccines. These data indicate that the Orlov-B strain can be considered as a candidate strain for further study on the development of a rubella vaccine based on the domestic vaccine strain.

Problems of Virology. 2022;67(2):133-141
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Biological activity of interferons in the novel coronavirus infection COVID-19

Ospelnikova T.P., Levitskaya D.S., Kolodyazhnaya L.V., Shitova A.D., Osiptsov V.N., Arifullina L.R., Kryukova N.O., Pakhomov D.V., Khromova E.A., Baranova I.A., Chuchalin A.G., Kostinov M.P., Svitich O.A.


Introduction. The immunopathogenesis of the novel coronavirus infection COVID-19 is usually associated with the development of imbalance in the immune response to its causative agent, SARS-CoV-2 virus (Coronaviridae: Coronavirinae: Betacoronavirus: Sarbecovirus). This is manifested, in particular, by interferons’ (IFNs) deficiency at the beginning of the disease followed by hyperproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The virus causes a decrease in IFN types I (α/β) and III (λ) levels; changes in IFN type II (γ) are less studied. In this regard, it is relevant to assess the functional bioactive IFN (interferon status) in COVID-19. The aim of the study was to assess the antiviral potential of the body by testing the biologically active IFNs in COVID-19.

Material and methods. We used biological serum samples of COVID-19 patients taken in the acute phase (110 patients on the 1–5 days of the disease) and during rehabilitation (47 patients during 1–3 months after the disease onset). Assessment of interferon status was performed according to the technique developed by the authors and described earlier.

Results. The IFN status of patients with COVID-19 in the acute period and in the phase of post-infection rehabilitation was studied during the observation period. It was found that SARS-CoV-2 causes a pronounced inhibition of biological activity of IFN types I and II compared to the reference values by more than 20 and 7 times, respectively. During the post-COVID period, incomplete recovery of the IFN system activity was registered, which proceeded very slowly. No cases of reaching physiological indicators of interferon status were identified during the observation period.

Conclusion. The obtained data on deficiency of the functional biologically active IFN confirm the hypothesis about the predominant role of impaired IFN production of different types in the immunopathogenesis of the novel coronavirus infection.

Problems of Virology. 2022;67(2):142-152
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Analysis of the whole-genome sequence of an ASF virus (Asfarviridae: Asfivirus: African swine fever virus) isolated from a wild boar (Sus scrofa) at the border between Russian Federation and Mongolia

Mazloum A., Igolkin A.S., Shotin A.R., Zinyakov N.G., Vlasova N.N., Aronova E.V., Puzankova O.S., Gavrilova V.L., Shevchenko I.V.


Introduction. The causative agent of African swine fever (Asfarviridae: Asfivirus: African swine fever virus) (ASF) is a double-stranded DNA virus of 175–215 nm. To date, 24 of its genotypes are known. Clustering of ASF genotype II isolates is carried out by examining a limited number of selected genome markers. Despite the relatively high rate of mutations in the genome of this infectious agent compared to other DNA viruses, the number of known genome molecular markers for genotype II isolates is still insufficient for detailed subclustering. The aims of this work were the comparative analysis of ASFV/Zabaykali/WB-5314/2020 virus isolate and determination of additional molecular markers which can be used for clustering of viral genotype II sequences. Material and methods. ASF virus isolate ASFV/Zabaykali/WB-5314/2020 was used to extract genomic DNA (gDNA). Sequencing libraries were constructed using the Nextera XT DNA library prepare kit (Illumina, USA) using the methodology of the next generation sequencing (NGS). Results. The genome length was 189,380 bp, and the number of open reading frames (ORFs) was 189. In comparison with the genome of reference isolate Georgia 2007/1, 33 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified, of which 13 were localized in the intergenic region, 10 resulted to the changes in the amino acid sequences of the encoded proteins, and 10 affected the ORF of ASF virus genes. Discussion. When analyzing intergenic regions, the ASFV/Zabaykali/WB-5314/2020 isolate is grouped separately from a number of isolates from Poland and three isolates from People’s Republic of China (PRC), since it does not harbor additional tandem repeat sequence (TRS). At the same time, the construction of a phylogenetic tree based on DP60R gene sequencing relates ASFV/Zabaykali/WB-5314/2020 to isolates from PRC and Poland. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis of full-genome sequences confirmed previous studies on the grouping of viruses of genotype II, and as for the studied isolate, it was grouped with the variants from China. Conclusion. A new variable region was identified, the DP60R gene, clustering for which gave a result similar to the analysis of full-length genomes. Probably, further study of the distribution of ASF virus isolates by groups based on the analysis of this gene sequences will reveal its significance for studying the evolution of the virus and its spread.

Problems of Virology. 2022;67(2):153-164
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To the anniversary of Vitaly Vasilyevich Zverev, Full Member of Russian Academy of Sciences

Editorial a.



Problems of Virology. 2022;67(2):165-166
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