Development of an immunochromatographic strip for the rapid detection of Toxoplasma gondii circulating antigens.
ABSTRACT We developed a rapid immunochromatographic strip (ICS) procedure that can detect circulating antigens in the blood of animals during the acute stage of toxoplasmosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate this test using sera from field samples and from experimentally infected animals. The sensitivity and specificity of the ICS were compared with those of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Both assays detected circulating antigens in the sera of animals experimentally infected with the Gansu Jingtai strain of Toxoplasma gondii, and the agreement between the two assays was 100%. In the infected animals, circulating antigens could be detected as early as the second day post-infection (PI) and in all animals by the fourth day. In the 381 field serum samples, the positive rates of the ICS and ELISA were 5.2% and 5.8%, respectively. In addition, there was no cross-reactivity of the antigens with Neospora caninum. The results presented here suggest that the ICS is a feasible, convenient, rapid and effective method to detect infection by T. gondii. This test could be a powerful supplement to the current diagnostic methods. Taken together, the results of this study encourage further research toward the production of commercial diagnostic tests for detecting T. gondii in animals.