• Comparison of mucosal lining fluid sampling methods and influenza-specific IgA detection assays for use in human studies of influenza immunity.

      de Silva, Thushan I; Gould, Victoria; Mohammed, Nuredin I; Cope, Alethea; Meijer, Adam; Zutt, Ilse; Reimerink, Johan; Kampmann, Beate; Hoschler, Katja; Zambon, Maria; et al. (2017-10)
      We need greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying protection against influenza virus to develop more effective vaccines. To do this, we need better, more reproducible methods of sampling the nasal mucosa. The aim of the current study was to compare levels of influenza virus A subtype-specific IgA collected using three different methods of nasal sampling. Samples were collected from healthy adult volunteers before and after LAIV immunization by nasal wash, flocked swabs and Synthetic Absorptive Matrix (SAM) strips. Influenza A virus subtype-specific IgA levels were measured by haemagglutinin binding ELISA or haemagglutinin binding microarray and the functional response was assessed by microneutralization. Nasosorption using SAM strips lead to the recovery of a more concentrated sample of material, with a significantly higher level of total and influenza H1-specific IgA. However, an equivalent percentage of specific IgA was observed with all sampling methods when normalized to the total IgA. Responses measured using a recently developed antibody microarray platform, which allows evaluation of binding to multiple influenza strains simultaneously with small sample volumes, were compared to ELISA. There was a good correlation between ELISA and microarray values. Material recovered from SAM strips was weakly neutralizing when used in an in vitro assay, with a modest correlation between the level of IgA measured by ELISA and neutralization, but a greater correlation between microarray-measured IgA and neutralizing activity. In conclusion we have tested three different methods of nasal sampling and show that flocked swabs and novel SAM strips are appropriate alternatives to traditional nasal washes for assessment of mucosal influenza humoral immunity.
    • The sample of choice for detecting Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in asymptomatic dromedary camels using real-time reversetranscription polymerase chain reaction.

      Mohran, K A; Farag, E A B; Reusken, C B E; Raj, V S; Lamers, M M; Pas, S D; Voermans, J; Smits, S L; Alhajri, M M; Alhajri, F; et al. (2016-12)
      The newly identified Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which causes severe respiratory disease, particularly in people with comorbidities, requires further investigation. Studies in Qatar and elsewhere have provided evidence that dromedary camels are a reservoir for the virus, but the exact modes of transmission of MERS-CoV to humans remain unclear. In February 2014, an assessment was made of the suitability and sensitivity of different types of sample for the detection of MERSCoV by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for three gene targets: UpE (upstream of the E gene), the N (nucleocapsid) gene and open reading frame (ORF) 1a. Fifty-three animals presented for slaughter were sampled. A high percentage of the sampled camels (79% [95% confidence interval 66.9-91.5%, standard error 0.0625]; 42 out of 53) were shown to be shedding MERS-CoV at the time of slaughter, yet all the animals were apparently healthy. Among the virus-positive animals, nasal swabs were most often positive (97.6%). Oral swabs were the second most frequently positive (35.7%), followed by rectal swabs (28.5%). In addition, the highest viral load, expressed as a cycle threshold (Ct) value of 11.27, was obtained from a nasal swab. These findings lead to the conclusion that nasal swabs are the candidate sample of choice for detecting MERS-CoV using RT-PCR technology in apparently healthy camels.