A study of cross inhibition tests among strains of influenza A virus and their antisera showed that the results obtained were subject to a certain amount of variation due to the red cells, the virus suspensions, and the ferret antisera employed. Methods have been demonstrated for handling the data obtained from such tests, so that these variables were corrected or avoided, making it possible to use the agglutination technique for antigenic comparisons.
The antigenic pattern of eighteen strains of influenza A virus, obtained from the 1940–41 epidemic in the United States, has been compared by means of agglutination inhibition tests with ferret antisera. No significant antigenic differences were found among sixteen of these strains (all isolated from throat washings by the inoculation of chick embryos) although they were obtained from individuals in widely separated regions of the country. Two strains, from cases occurring early in the epidemic and isolated from throat washings by ferret and mouse passage, showed a slight but significant strain difference from the other strains and from each other. One of the 1940–41 strains on cross test resembled the PR8 strain more closely than any other stock strain tested.