Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Exotic & Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research » Research » Research Project #444191

Research Project: Updating Avian Influenza Diagnostic Tests and HPAIV Strain Characterization

Location: Exotic & Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research

Project Number: 6040-32000-081-032-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: May 1, 2023
End Date: Sep 30, 2025

Avian influenza of both the low pathogenic (LP) and highly pathogenic (HP) forms continue to be a disease problem for poultry and wildlife in the United States and worldwide. Therefore maintaining up-to-date diagnostic reagents and utilizing optimal test platforms is essential. To improve current avian influenza virus diagnostic serological assays for poultry and to identify changes in pathogenicity of new isolates that could impact virus detection, the objectives of this work are: 1. Develop improved assays for determining the subtype specificity of serum that is positive for influenza A antibodies 2. Characterize avian influenza virus isolates in representative avian species Maintaining the most up-to-date reagents and implementing new assays that could improve sensitivity and specific will provide for more accurate results when identifying the subtype specificity of animal serum that is positive for antibodies to influenza. This will provide information on the potential exposure history of the animal. In addition, influenza isolates continue to emerge in poultry populations, and each virus has unique characteristics that may impact how the virus infects and transmits among susceptible species. Conducting animal challenge trials in a standardized manner allows for comparisons between isolates to understand the unique risks a particular strain has. Therefore, novel isolates with mutations of interest need to be characterized in relevant avian species.

Because of the continual antigenic evolution of avian influenza virus (AIV), antigens that are used to determine HA and NA serologic subtypes need to be periodically updated serum samples that are positive for antibodies to type A influenza. Older antigens may lose their reactivity to recent influenza antibodies in serum and may give false negative results. Additionally, new diagnostic technologies are continually being developed. These new methods can offer superior sensitivity and specificity once optimized. By updating the antigens and optimizing new assays, accuracy can be improved.