Inter and intra-host diversity of RSV in hematopoietic stem cell transplant adults with normal and delayed viral clearance

Vasanthi Avadhanula, Daniel Paiva Agustinho, Vipin Kumar Menon, Roy F. Chemaly, Dimpy P. Shah, Xiang Qin, Anil Surathu, Harshavardhan Doddapaneni, Donna M. Muzny, Ginger A. Metcalf, Sara Javornik Cregeen, Richard A. Gibbs, Joseph F. Petrosino, Fritz J. Sedlazeck, Pedro A. Piedra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection in immunocompromised individuals often leads to prolonged illness, progression to severe lower respiratory tract infection, and even death. How the host immune environment of the hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) adults can affect viral genetic variation during an acute infection is not understood well. In the present study, we performed whole genome sequencing of RSV/A or RSV/B from samples collected longitudinally from HCT adults with normal (<14 days) and delayed (≥14 days) RSV clearance who were enrolled in a ribavirin trial. We determined the inter-host and intra-host genetic variation of RSV and the effect of mutations on putative glycosylation sites. The inter-host variation of RSV is centered in the attachment (G) and fusion (F) glycoprotein genes followed by polymerase (L) and matrix (M) genes. Interestingly, the overall genetic variation was constant between normal and delayed clearance groups for both RSV/A and RSV/B. Intra-host variation primarily occurred in the G gene followed by non-structural protein (NS1) and L genes; however, gain or loss of stop codons and frameshift mutations appeared only in the G gene and only in the delayed viral clearance group. Potential gain or loss of O-linked glycosylation sites in the G gene occurred both in RSV/A and RSV/B isolates. For RSV F gene, loss of N-linked glycosylation site occurred in three RSV/B isolates within an antigenic epitope. Both oral and aerosolized ribavirin did not cause any mutations in the L gene. In summary, prolonged viral shedding and immune deficiency resulted in RSV variation, especially in structural mutations in the G gene, possibly associated with immune evasion. Therefore, sequencing and monitoring of RSV isolates from immunocompromised patients are crucial as they can create escape mutants that can impact the effectiveness of upcoming vaccines and treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbervead086
JournalVirus Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • HCT
  • RSV
  • hematopoietic stem cell transplant adults
  • inter-host
  • intra-host
  • variants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Microbiology


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