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PLoS One. 2010 Apr 14;5(4):e10176. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010176.

Specific recognition of influenza A/H1N1/2009 antibodies in human serum: a simple virus-free ELISA method.

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Centro de Biotecnología-FEMSA, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, New León, México.



Although it has been estimated that pandemic Influenza A H1N1/2009 has infected millions of people from April to October 2009, a more precise figure requires a worldwide large-scale diagnosis of the presence of Influenza A/H1N1/2009 antibodies within the population. Assays typically used to estimate antibody titers (hemagglutination inhibition and microneutralization) would require the use of the virus, which would seriously limit broad implementation.


An ELISA method to evaluate the presence and relative concentration of specific Influenza A/H1N1/2009 antibodies in human serum samples is presented. The method is based on the use of a histidine-tagged recombinant fragment of the globular region of the hemagglutinin (HA) of the Influenza A H1N1/2009 virus expressed in E. coli.


The ELISA method consistently discerns between Inf A H1N1 infected and non-infected subjects, particularly after the third week of infection/exposure. Since it does not require the use of viral particles, it can be easily and quickly implemented in any basic laboratory. In addition, in a scenario of insufficient vaccine availability, the use of this ELISA could be useful to determine if a person has some level of specific antibodies against the virus and presumably at least partial protection.

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