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Use of whole blood samples preserved in DNA lysis buffer for serological detection of avian malaria in Hawaiian forest birds

June 8, 2020

Recent detections of avian malarial parasites in native and non-native forest birds at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge and reports of epidemic transmission of the disease in high elevation habitats as well as controversy over accuracy of the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) diagnostic test that was being used led to a request by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to see if existing blood samples that were preserved in a DNA lysis buffer could be used for independent confirmation of the findings with antibody based serological methods. The primary objective of this study was to test whether some DNA buffers used for preservation of blood samples cause denaturation and loss of antigenicity of antibody molecules. If the buffer does not destroy antigenicity of these molecules, then the samples can be used in serological assays to provide an independent assessment of the accuracy of PCR tests.