Optimizing environmental viral surveillance: bovine serum albumin increases RT-qPCR sensitivity for high pathogenicity avian influenza H5Nx virus detection from dust samples

Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Nov 20:e0305523. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.03055-23. Online ahead of print.


With the circulation of high pathogenicity avian influenza viruses having intensified considerably in recent years, the European Union is considering the vaccination of farmed birds. A prerequisite for this vaccination is the implementation of drastic surveillance protocols. Environmental sampling is a relevant alternative to animal sampling. However, environmental samples often contain inhibitory compounds in large enough quantities to inhibit RT-qPCR reactions. As bovine serum albumin is a molecule used in many fields to overcome this inhibitory effect, we tested its use on dust samples from poultry farms in areas heavily affected by HPAIV epizootics. Our results show that its use significantly increases the sensitivity of the method.

Keywords: avian viruses; influenza; virology.