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Open Access Reassessing the Detection of B-Virus–Specific Serum Antibodies

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B virus, a natural pathogen of macaques, can cause a fatal zoonotic disease in humans. Serologic screening of macaques by titration ELISA (tELISA, screening test) and by Western blot analysis (WBA, confirmatory test) is one of the principle measures to prevent human infection. Here we slightly modified these 2 tests and reevaluated their correlation. We developed a high-throughput tELISA and used it to screen 278 sera simultaneously against the homologous BV antigen and the heterologous antigens of Papiine herpesvirus 2 and Human herpesvirus 1. More sera (35.6%) were positive by the BV-ELISA than by the HVP2-ELISA (21.6%) or HSV1-ELISA (19.8%). The superiority of the homologous tELISA over the heterologous tELISA was prominent in low-titer sera. WBA confirmed only 21% of the tELISA-positive sera with low or intermediate antibody titers. These sera might have contained antibodies to conformational epitopes that could not be detected by WBA, in which denatured antigens are used, but that could be detected by tELISA, which detects both linear and conformational epitopes. WBA confirmed 82% of the tELISA high-titer sera. However, WBA defined the remaining 18% of sera, which were negative by tELISA, as nonnegative. This finding can be attributed to the difficulties encountered with the subjective interpretation of results by WBA. Together, the current results indicate the inadequacy of WBA as a confirmatory assay for sera with low antibody titers.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Viral Immunology Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. 2: Viral Immunology Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 3: Viral Immunology Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Greenport, New York, USA

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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