Washington, June 10 (ANI): Scientists have come up with a fast and cost-effective way to detect the emerging H1N1 swine-derived influenza A virus in human clinical samples using standard lab equipment.
An article describing the timely and broadly applicable molecular technique, published online ahead of print in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, says that the molecular strategy is based on proven and widely used Real-Time, Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) technology.
The authors of the report say that the new molecular probe improves on the existing PCR assay used to diagnose seasonal influenza and enables detection of both the seasonal and H1N1 influenza A viruses in the same patient sample using a simple test protocol.
In positive samples this is followed by the addition of two probes that are able to discriminate between the seasonal and swine H1N1 viruses to yield a definitive diagnosis.
Early, accurate identification of infected individuals will expedite appropriate antiviral therapy and enhance control and containment efforts.
The new molecular test specifically amplifies and characterizes the viral genetic material, enabling rapid detection of new viral strains as they evolve.
The researchers say that using these genetic sequence data and making minor alterations to the PCR primers used in the assay, the test could be easily modified to detect newly emerging viral variants, including avian influenza strains.
"Early recognition of new influenza strains is vitally important for implementing effective control measures to limit spread. This cost-effective, comprehensive, and rapid test is a highly significant contribution to diagnostics that will greatly enhance our capacity to deal with future influenza outbreaks," says Stephen Higgs, Editor-in-Chief of Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, and Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Sealy Center for Vaccine Development and WHO Collaborating Center for Tropical Diseases, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. (ANI)