Rapid detection of avian influenza virus (AIV) infection is critical for control of avian influenza (AI) and for reducing the risk of pandemic human influenza. A double antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (DAS-ELISA) was developed for this purpose. The method employed a monoclonal antibody (MAb) as the capture antibody and rabbit polyclonal IgG labeled with horseradish peroxidase as the detector antibody, and both antibodies were against type-specific influenza A nucleoprotein (NP). The DAS-ELISA could detect minimally 2.5 ng of influenza viral protein in virus preparations treated with Triton X-100, which is equvilent to 2.5 × 102 EID50 virus particles. This DAS-ELISA could detect all 15n AIV subtypes (H1–H15) and did not cross react with other avian pathogens tested. The DAS-ELISA were directly compared with virus isolation (VI) in embryonated chicken eggs, the current standard of influenza virus detection, for 805 chicken samples. The DAS-ELISA results correlated with VI results for 98.6% of these samples, indicating a sensitivity of 97.4% and specificity of 100%. The method was further tested with H5N1 and H9N2 AIV experimentally infected chickens, ducks, and pigeons, as well as field samples obtained from central China in 2005. The DAS-ELISA method has demonstrated application potential as an AIV screening tool and as a supplement for virus isolation in Asia.
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