Archival influenza virus genomes from Europe reveal genomic variability during the 1918 pandemic

Livia V. Patrono, Bram Vrancken, Matthias Budt, Ariane Düx, Sebastian Lequime, Sengül Boral, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Jan F. Gogarten, Luisa Hoffmann, David Horst, Kevin Merkel, David Morens, Baptiste Prepoint, Jasmin Schlotterbeck, Verena J. Schuenemann, Marc A. Suchard, Jeffery K. Taubenberger, Luisa Tenkhoff, Christian Urban, Navena WidulinEduard Winter, Michael Worobey, Thomas Schnalke, Thorsten Wolff, Philippe Lemey, Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The 1918 influenza pandemic was the deadliest respiratory pandemic of the 20th century and determined the genomic make-up of subsequent human influenza A viruses (IAV). Here, we analyze both the first 1918 IAV genomes from Europe and the first from samples prior to the autumn peak. 1918 IAV genomic diversity is consistent with a combination of local transmission and long-distance dispersal events. Comparison of genomes before and during the pandemic peak shows variation at two sites in the nucleoprotein gene associated with resistance to host antiviral response, pointing at a possible adaptation of 1918 IAV to humans. Finally, local molecular clock modeling suggests a pure pandemic descent of seasonal H1N1 IAV as an alternative to the hypothesis of origination through an intrasubtype reassortment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2314
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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