Characterization and use in neutralization assays of avian influenza codon-optimized H5 and H7 retroviral pseudotypes

Karen Delgadillo-Gutiérrez, Juan Arturo Castelán-Vega, Alicia Jiménez-Alberto, Mariana del Carmen Fernández-Lizárraga, Gerardo Aparicio-Ozores, Gloria Paulina Monterrubio-López, Rosa María Ribas-Aparicio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Influenza is a relevant problem for public and animal health, with a significant economic impact. In recent years, outbreaks of avian influenza virus have resulted in devastating losses in the poultry industry worldwide, and although its transmission to humans is very rare, there is always a potential risk for an even more severe outbreak. Currently, vaccination is considered the most effective tool for the control and prevention of influenza infections in both humans and animals. The maintenance of animal welfare and the successful implementation of animal health programs depend on the timely administration of vaccines, which must comply with quality specifications indicated by health authorities; for example, the capability to ensure a minimum antibody titer. The production of viral antigens used in these tests can pose a biosafety risk, and some viral strains can be difficult to grow. Therefore, new biotechnological alternatives are required to overcome these disadvantages. In this study, we produced pseudotypes carrying H5 and H7 hemagglutinins from lowly and highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses. These pseudotypes were used in neutralization assays to detect neutralizing antibodies in avian sera, which were confirmed positive by inhibition of the hemagglutination test. Our results showed that the pseudotype neutralization assay is a viable alternative for the detection of neutralizing antibodies, by demonstrating subtype specificity and requiring reduced biosafety requirements. Therefore, it represents a versatile platform that can facilitate technology transfer protocols between laboratories, and an immediate application in serological tools for quality control of veterinary vaccines against avian influenza.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114391
JournalJournal of Virological Methods
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Avian influenza
  • Hemagglutinin
  • Neutralization assay
  • Neutralizing antibodies
  • Retroviral pseudotypes
  • Veterinary vaccines


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