Background: Sporadic emergence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus infection in humans is a serious concern because of the potential for a pandemic. Conventional or quantitative RT-PCR is the standard laboratory test to detect viral influenza infections. However, this technology requires well-equipped laboratories and highly trained personnel. A rapid, sensitive, and specific alternative screening method is needed.Methods: By a luminescence-linked enzyme immunoassay, we have developed a H5N1 HPAI virus detection kit using anti-H5 hemagglutinin monoclonal antibodies in combination with the detection of a universal NP antigen of the type A influenza virus. The process takes 15 minutes by use of the fully automated luminescence analyzer, POCube.Resutls: We tested this H5/A kit using 19 clinical specimens from 13 patients stored in Vietnam who were infected with clade 1.1 or clade 2.3.4 H5N1 HPAI virus. Approximately 80% of clinical specimens were H5-positive using the POCube system, whereas only 10% of the H5-positive samples were detected as influenza A-positive by an immunochromatography-based rapid diagnostic kit.Conclusions: This novel H5/A kit using POCube is served as a rapid and sensitive screening test for H5N1 HPAI virus infection in humans.
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