Evaluation of a new serological technique for detecting rabies virus antibodies following vaccination
ABSTRACT Two major techniques are currently used to estimate rabies virus antibody values: neutralization assays, such as the rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). The RFFIT is considered the gold standard assay and has been used to assess the titer of rabies virus neutralizing antibodies for more than three decades. In the late 1970s, ELISA began to be used to estimate the level of rabies virus antibody and has recently been used by some laboratories as an alternate screening test for animal sera. Although the ELISA appears simpler, safer and more efficient, the assay is less sensitive in detecting low values of rabies virus neutralizing antibodies than neutralization tests. This study was designed to evaluate a new ELISA-based method for detecting rabies virus binding antibody. This new technique uses electro-chemi-luminescence labels and carbon electrode plates to detect binding events. In this comparative study, the RFFIT and the new ELISA-based technique were used to evaluate the level of rabies virus antibodies in human and animal serum samples. By using a conservative approximation of 0.15 IU/ml as a cutoff point, the new ELISA-based technique demonstrated a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 95% for human samples and for experimental animal samples. The sensitivity and specificity for field animal samples was 96% and 95%, respectively. The preliminary results from this study appear promising and demonstrate a higher sensitivity than traditional ELISA methods.
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ABSTRACT: Rabies, an acute progressive, fatal encephalomyelitis, transmitted most commonly through the bite of a rabid animal, is responsible for an estimated 61,000 human deaths worldwide. The true disease burden and public health impact due to rabies remain underestimated due to lack of sensitive laboratory diagnostic methods. Rapid diagnosis of rabies can help initiate prompt infection control and public health measures, obviate the need for unnecessary treatment/medical tests, and assist in timely administration of pre- or postexposure prophylactic vaccination to family members and medical staff. Antemortem diagnosis of human rabies provides an impetus for clinicians to attempt experimental therapeutic approaches in some patients, especially after the reported survival of a few cases of human rabies. Traditional methods for antemortem and postmortem rabies diagnosis have several limitations. Recent advances in technology have led to the improvement or development of several diagnostic assays which include methods for rabies viral antigen and antibody detection and assays for viral nucleic acid detection and identification of specific biomarkers. These assays which complement traditional methods have the potential to revolutionize rabies diagnosis in future.The Scientific World Journal 11/2013; 2013(5):569712. DOI:10.1155/2013/569712 · 1.73 Impact Factor