Hemagglutination inhibition (HI) has been a reliable method for determining porcine antibody levels to the well-characterized swine influenza virus (SIV) H1N1 and H3N2 subtypes. However, the recent emergence of the novel H1N2 serotype of SIV and the persistence of 2 other serotypes (H1N1 and H3N2) in the United States swine population represents a significant challenge to diagnostics. Both standardized and modified HI protocols were used in a blinded study to examine a collection of 50 control sera representing a total of 12 swine that were experimentally inoculated with one of the 3 SIV subtypes. Using these control sera data, a statistical basis for analysis was established in an attempt to classify 30 field sera with known case histories or seroprevalance into SIV serotype categories. By this approach 57% of the field sera could be classified into specific categories. The remaining samples that could not be classified reliably were most likely composed of heterogeneous anti-SIV antibody populations. These results indicate that although serological differentiation might be possible in a controlled environment, applications of these methods to field samples are currently problematic. Approaches other than HI will be required to fulfill the current need for SIV diagnostics and surveillance when specific serotype identification is required.
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