An infectious bat chimeric influenza virus harboring the entry machinery of a influenza A virus

In 2012 the complete genomic sequence of a new and potentially harmful influenza A-like virus from bats (H17N10) was identified. However, infectious influenza virus was neither isolated from infected bats nor reconstituted, impeding further characterization of this virus. Here we show the generation of an infectious chimeric virus containing six out of the eight bat virus genes, with the remaining two genes encoding the HA and NA proteins of a prototypic influenza A virus. This engineered virus replicates well in a broad range of mammalian cell cultures, human primary airway epithelial cells and mice, but poorly in avian cells and chicken embryos without further adaptation. Importantly, the bat chimeric virus is unable to reassort with other influenza A viruses. Although our data do not exclude the possibility of zoonotic transmission of bat influenza viruses into the human population, they indicate that multiple barriers exist that makes this an unlikely event.

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