Introduction: The aim of the study was to test the utility of Flinders Technology Associates filter paper (FTA® Cards) for molecular detection and storage of avian influenza virus (AIV). Material and Methods: There were two strains of AIV used in the study: low pathogenicity H7N1 and high pathogenicity H5N1 subtypes. Detection of viral material was conducted using molecular RT-PCR and rRT- PCR method. Results: The infectivity of LPAIV/H7N1 and HPAIV/H5N1 was completely inactivated within 1 h and 24 h after adsorption to FTA® Cards at room temperature, respectively. Viruses stored on FTA® Cards had detection limit approximately 1 log10 lower than live viruses. Viral RNA of both strains were detectable on the cards by rRT-PCR for a minimum of 150 d, irrespectively of storage temperatures (room temperature, -20ºC). RNA was also detected in all samples obtained from SPF chickens experimentally infected with HPAI/H5N1 on 3rd and 4th day post-infection (p.i.).
Conclusion: FTA® Cards enable safe and effective alternative transport of samples for molecular diagnosis of AIV.