The use of Madin-Darby canine kidney cells (MDCK) in a shell vial system
for the rapid detection of influenza viruses has been well established1, 2.
Generally, at the end of the incubation period, the fluid (medium) inside the
shell vial tube is discarded and the coverslip is rinsed with PBS and then
subjected to an immunofluorescence (IMF) test, using anti influenza virus
antibodies. A positive fluorescence test will indicate the presence of an
influenza virus in the specimen. This technique, however, does not determine
the subtype of the influenza virus. To determine the influenza virus subtype,
one still needs the use of embryonated eggs. In this report we describe the
successful use of the fluid in the shell vial tube at the end of the incubation
period, to detect and subtype influenza viruses. With this approach, there is
no need for the use of embryonated eggs and the final result, including the
identity of the influenza virus subtype, is obtainable within 48 hours.
Molecular techniques such as the polymerase chain reaction have become an
integral part of the scope of techniques used in the diagnostic medical technology
field. This suggests an increased demand for medical technologists
with molecular genetic background. Qualifying and qualified medical technologists
are currently inadequately equipped to meet the demand.
Educational institutions and employers are challenged to provide sufficient
opportunities for training and education in molecular genetics. It is necessary
to provide molecular modules from the first year onward in the undergraduate
diploma course and appropriate short courses and focussed post-graduate
studies. These can equip a medical technologist with the ability to excel in
the emerging field of molecular genetics.