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J Med Virol. 2004 Sep;74(1):141-6.

Antigenic characterisation of influenza B virus with a new microneutralisation assay: comparison to haemagglutination and sequence analysis.

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C.I.R.I., Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.


Although the haemagglutination inhibition assay is considered the "gold standard" for antigenic characterisation of influenza viruses, some limitations of this technique are well known. A new microneutralisation assay, as a tool for antigenic characterisation of influenza B viruses, has been standardised and its performance evaluated in comparison with the haemagglutination inhibition test in the light of molecular characterisation of the haemagglutinin. Twelve B viruses belonging to the two lineages and the four sub-lineages discriminated by phylogenetic analysis of HA were tested. The microneutralisation assay clearly distinguishes viruses belonging to different lineages and, in addition, discriminates strains belonging to different sub-lineages that are poorly or not discriminated using the haemagglutination inhibition test. This new microneutralisation assay could provide a useful tool for antigenic characterisation of circulating influenza viruses and contribute, together with the haemagglutination inhibition test and sequence analysis of the haemagglutinin and neuraminidase, in the choice of the strain for use in vaccine composition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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