In recent years, avian influenza viruses, and the H5 subtype in particular, have caused significant losses in poultry farms. Today's diagnostic methods used to identify and determine whether or not highly pathogenic strains are involved, are often lengthy and costly. The objective of the EMERDIAH5 project is to develop an alternative differential molecular diagnostic method using the Luminex technology. Moreover, as part of a H5 serological monitoring, the use of H5 strain-specific commercial ELISAs will be evaluated.
Since 2004, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses of the H5 subtype have acquired the capacity of infecting and circulating in wild fauna. Some have also acquired the property of reassortment with other strains, thereby giving rise to new H5Nx viruses. The spread of these viruses and the absence of an overall solution to limit their propagation calls for adequate monitoring of our farms and wild fauna. The EMERDIAH5 project aims to develop and implement virological and serological diagnostic tests allowing for a more rapid response for the detection of notifiable avian influenza (NAI) viruses. As part of the molecular diagnosis, the Luminex technology will be developed to enable pathotyping of the viral strain and subtyping of the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) proteins on field samples. Diagnostic samples will be tested to assess and compare the sensitivity and precision of this technique against the current diagnostic methods. Finally, as part of the serological diagnosis, the detection spectrum of commercial multispecies subtype H5 specific ELISAs will be assessed with a view to considering their incorporation into routine diagnosis.