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J Virol Methods. 2011 Feb;171(2):369-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2010.11.024. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

Comparison of hemagglutination inhibition assay, an ELISA-based micro-neutralization assay and colorimetric microneutralization assay to detect antibody responses to vaccination against influenza A H1N1 2009 virus.

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  • 1Institute of Virology of the University of Düsseldorf, Heinrich-Heine-University, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. sebastian.grund@uni-due.de


The hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay has been the main method used to investigate immune responses to vaccination against influenza H1N1 (2009) virus. However microneutralization tests (MNT) have been shown to be more sensitive and more specific. In this study, the three methods of choice: (i) the HI assay, (ii) an ELISA-based conventional MNT and (iii) a colorimetric MNT in terms of their ability to detect antibody responses in serum pairs collected from 43 healthy individuals before and 21 days after vaccination were compared. The colorimetric MNT was established yielding intra- and inter-run imprecisions of 7.5% and 12.4%, respectively. Testing of antisera to seasonal influenza viruses demonstrated the assay to be specific for antibodies to influenza H1N1 (2009) virus. A good correlation between the three methods was found, being highest for the ELISA-MNT and the colorimetric MNT (r=0.714 for geometric mean titers (GMT) and r=0.695 for titer increases). Similar rates of fourfold titer increases were detected: 95.3% in the ELISA-MNT vs. 93.0% in colorimetric MNT and 95.3% in HI assay. The ELISA-based MNT demonstrated the highest titer range leading to the highest postvaccination GMT and the highest titer increase (>50-fold). The lowest GMTs were measured with the HI assay, while the colorimetric MNT detected the highest GMT in prevaccination sera. Taken together, similar seroconversion rates were obtained with the three assays. The ELISA-MNT appeared to be the best method to compare absolute pre- and postvaccination GMTs. The colorimetric MNT, being less labour-intensive than the ELISA-MNT, seems to be a suitable tool in vaccination studies.

© 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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