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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2001 Jul;13(4):361-4.

A simpler, more sensitive competitive inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detection of antibody to malignant catarrhal fever viruses.

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Animal Diseases Research Unit, USDA, ARS, Washington State University, Pullman, USA.


An earlier competitive inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (CI-ELISA) was developed for detection of specific antibody against malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) viruses (MCFV) in ruminants. In this study, the indirect CI-ELISA was improved by conjugating the monoclonal antibody 15-A directly with horseradish peroxidase and by developing a method of producing precoated, dried antigen plates. This new test is referred to as a direct CI-ELISA. The reformatted test yielded a significantly improved sensitivity, and the time required was reduced to about one-sixth of the previous time. Of 37 MCF cases in cattle that were confirmed by histopathology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, 37 (100%) were positive by the new test, whereas the indirect CI-ELISA detected only 23 (62%). The direct CI-ELISA detected antibody to MCFV in 100% of 48 sheep that had been defined as infected with ovine herpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2) by PCR, whereas the indirect CI-ELISA detected only 41 (85%). Comparison of antibody titers measured by the 2 assays for sera collected from OvHV-2-infected sheep and from cattle, bison, and deer with clinical sheep-associated MCF revealed that the direct CI-ELISA offered a 4-fold increase in analytical sensitivity over the indirect format. The number of seropositive animals detected by the direct CI-ELISA among apparently normal cattle and bison was 2-3 times greater than the number detected by the indirect CI-ELISA, indicating that a significant percentage of normal cattle and bison are subclincally infected with MCFV.

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