U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type



Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 26, 2014


U.S. Government work


A potential mechanism by which highly pathogenic avian Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 could more readily infect human beings is through the infection of and adaptation in pigs. To detect the occurrence of such infection, monitoring of pig populations through serological screening would be highly desirable. In the current study, hemagglutination inhibition assays were able to detect antibodies against H5N1 developed in pigs, but because of antigenic variation between clades, the use of multiple virus strains were required. Whole recombinant virus and recombinant hemagglutinin antigen enzymelinked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) were generated that could detect antibody against multiple H5N1 strains, but which also detected antibody against endemic swine influenza viruses. A recombinant hemagglutinin antigen-based ELISA was as effective as the whole virus antigen ELISAs in detecting antibody against the H5N1 virus strains used and eliminated nearly all of the cross-reactivity with non-H5N1 virus antibody. The current study also highlighted the difficulty in establishing a decision (cutoff) value that would effectively counterbalance nonspecific reactivity against sensitivity. The results provide important information and considerations for the development of serological screening assays for highly pathogenic avian H5N1 viruses.