This study states that Baloxavir marboxil (BXM) is an approved drug that selectively targets cap-dependent endonuclease on PA subunit in the RNA polymerase complex of influenza A and B viruses. Amino acid substitutions at position 38 in the PA subunit were identified as a major pathway for reduced susceptibility to baloxavir acid (BXA), the active form of BXM. Additionally, substitutions found at positions E23, A37, and E199 in the PA subunit impact BXA susceptibility by less than 10-fold.

We comprehensively evaluated the impact of novel amino acid substitutions identified in PA, PB1, and PB2 subunits in BXM clinical trials and influenza sequence databases by means of drug susceptibility and replicative capacity.

PA/I38N in A(H1N1)pdm09 and PA/I38R in A(H3N2) were newly identified as treatment-emergent substitutions in the CAPSTONE-2 study. The I38N substitution conferred reduced susceptibility by 24-fold, whereas replicative capacity of the I38N-substituted virus was impaired compared with the wild-type. The I38R-substituted virus was not viable in cell culture.

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