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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2001 Mar;8(2):429-31.

Multicenter evaluation of a rapid and convenient method for determination of cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin G avidity.

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Laboratoire de Virologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble, BP 217, 38043 Grenoble, France.


An easy, rapid, and reproducible test to distinguish residual cytomegalovirus (CMV) immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies from antibodies produced in primary infection could be useful, especially for pregnant women. The CMV avidity of IgG antibodies with the VIDAS automated enzyme-linked fluorescent assay and 6 M urea was evaluated in a multicenter study to differentiate between primary CMV infections and past infections or reactivations. A total of 416 serum specimens were tested: 159 specimens were from follow-up of primary infections, and 257 were from past infections. All of the specimens from primary infections collected within 4 months (17 weeks) after the onset of the infection had an avidity index lower than 0.8. An avidity index higher than 0.8 excludes a recent primary infection of less than 4 months. However, an avidity index higher than 0.8 cannot confirm all past infections, since 48 specimens (18%) from past infections had an avidity index lower than 0.8 (between 0.5 and 0.8). The exclusion capacity could be improved (96.9%) by using a cutoff of 0.7, but this index would decrease the specificity of the technique, since the avidity index was found to be between 0.7 and 0.8 in two patients with recent primary infection. All specimens from primary infections obtained more than 4 months after the onset of infection had an avidity index more than 0.2. In this study, an avidity index less than 0.2 confirms the presence of a recent primary infection of less than 4 months. The VIDAS CMV IgG avidity test is a rapid, reproducible test with very good performance.

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