Current methods for detection of avian influenza virus (AIV) based on virus culture and RT-PCR are well established, but they are either time consuming or require specialized laboratory facilities and highly trained technicians. A simple, rapid, robust, and reliable test, suitable for use in the field or at the patient's bedside, is urgently needed. In this study, the performance of a newly developed portable impedance biosensor was evaluated by comparison with real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (rRT-PCR) and virus culture for detection of AIV in tracheal and cloacal swab samples collected from experimentally H5N2 AIV infected chickens. The impedance biosensor system was based on a combination of magnetic nanobeads, which were coated with AIV subtype-specific antibody for capture (separation and concentration) of a target virus, and a microfluidic chip with an interdigitated array microelectrode for transfer and detection of target virus, and impedance measurement of the bio-nanobeads and AI virus complexes in a buffer solution. A comparison of results obtained from 59 swab samples using virus culture, impedance biosensor and rRT-PCR methods showed that the impedance biosensor technique was comparable in sensitivity and specificity to rRT-PCR. Detection time for the impedance biosensor is less than 1. h.
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