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Neuraminidase activity as a potential enzymatic marker for rapid detection of airborne viruses

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McNicoll, François
Liav, Avraham
Barbeau, Jean
Jim, Ho
Grund, Christian
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Viruses offer a limited range of targets for their detection. To date, PCR and RT-PCR have been widely used for detection of viruses. In the case of environmental air sampling, the ability to detect a broad range of viruses would constitute a significant advantage for preventing outbreaks of airborne-transmitted viral infections. Given that neuraminidase is found on some respiratory virus species of medical or agricultural importance, this enzyme could theoretically be used to detect several different airborne viruses in a single assay. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the potential of neuraminidase activity as a marker for rapid detection of airborne viruses. We first validated the use of a low-pathogenic strain of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) as a model airborne virus. Our findings revealed that neuraminidase activity-based assays are almost as sensitive as RT-PCR assays currently used for detection of NDV. We also validated the utilization of a neuraminidase substrate specific to viral neuraminidase. Experiments conducted in a controlled chamber demonstrated that the neuraminidase activity is preserved after aerosolization, air sampling using impingement and handling. Finally, we tested our method with swine barn air samples. Our results demonstrate that neuraminidase activity-based assays are suitable for detection of viruses in air samples.
Aerosol Science and Technology, Vol. 45 (2), 183–195 (2011)
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air sampling , Newcastle disease virus , neuraminidase , bioaerosol
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article de recherche