Evaluation of a new serological technique for detecting rabies virus antibodies following vaccination

Rabies Program, Poxvirus and Rabies Branch, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, United States.
Vaccine (Impact Factor: 3.62). 06/2012; 30(36):5358-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.06.037
Source: PubMed


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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    • "However the test requires trained manpower, cell culture and fluorescent microscopy facilities, and adequate biosafety measures to handle live virus. The RFFIT is sensitive to cytotoxicity in poor-quality sera [41] and nonspecific inhibitors of virus in sera may produce false positive results. "
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