Avian influenza viruses represent a major public health concern, and worldwide outbreaks raise the risk of a potential pandemic. Sero-epidemiological studies typically rely on data obtained through hemagglutination inhibition assays (HAI). HAI has been shown to display low sensitivity towards avian influenza antibodies resulting in difficult and inconsistent results interpretations. Furthermore, a previous protein array-based serological assays showed the potential to measure specific antibody responses but failed to provide conclusive results due to the complex cross-reactivity of serum antibodies developed during previous exposures to influenza viruses. In this study, B. Westerhuis et al. devised a new approach to gain insights into the specificity of antibodies produced from individual memory B cells. The method is based on clonal dissection of the memory B cell repertoire in peripheral blood. Analysis of antibodies from B cell clones was performed by printing HA1 recombinant proteins on ONCYTE® AVID microarray substrates. 19 different influenza strains were printed using an Arrayjet Marathon printer (Arrayjet Ltd, Roslin, UK). The multiplex serological assay in a microarray format allows for the successful screening of memory B-cells in peripheral blood for a broad range of HA1 antigens to identify their strain-specificity. This approach can provide valuable insights into the mechanism of B cell response to avian influenza.
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