Specific recognition of influenza A/H1N1/2009 antibodies in human serum: A simple virus-free ELISA method
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Background: Although it has been estimated that pandemic Influenza A H1N1/2009 has infected millions of people from April to October 2009, a more precise figure requires a worldwide large-scale diagnosis of the presence of Influenza A/ H1N1/2009 antibodies within the population. Assays typically used to estimate antibody titers (hemagglutination inhibition and microneutralization) would require the use of the virus, which would seriously limit broad implementation. Methodology/Principal Findings: An ELISA method to evaluate the presence and relative concentration of specific Influenza A/H1N1/2009 antibodies in human serum samples is presented. The method is based on the use of a histidinetagged recombinant fragment of the globular region of the hemagglutinin (HA) of the Influenza A H1N1/2009 virus expressed in E. coli. Conclusions/Significance: The ELISA method consistently discerns between Inf A H1N1 infected and non-infected subjects, particularly after the third week of infection/exposure. Since it does not require the use of viral particles, it can be easily and quickly implemented in any basic laboratory. In addition, in a scenario of insufficient vaccine availability, the use of this ELISA could be useful to determine if a person has some level of specific antibodies against the virus and presumably at least partial protection. © 2010 Alvarez et al.