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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2002 Jul;9(4):824-7.

Validation of an in-house assay for cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin G (CMV IgG) avidity and relationship of avidity to CMV IgM levels.

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Focus Technologies, Cypress, California 90630, USA.


Measurement of cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) avidity has proven to be a powerful tool for distinguishing primary from nonprimary CMV infection. An in-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for measuring CMV IgG avidity was validated using 84 sera from pregnant women who had recently seroconverted following primary CMV infection and 74 sera from individuals with past CMV infection (IgG-positive and IgM-negative profile). Of the 84 sera from pregnant women, 73 sera were collected within 120 days of the last IgG-negative sample, and 72 of these 73 sera (99%) exhibited an avidity index (AI) of <50%. In contrast, 71 of 74 (96%) sera from individuals with past CMV infection exhibited CMV AI values of > 60%. Thus, low avidity in the in-house ELISA was defined as an AI of < or = 50%, whereas high avidity was defined as an AI of > or = 60%. In additional studies, the relationship between CMV IgG avidity and CMV IgM levels was examined using 64 CMV IgG-positive sera (time since seroconversion unknown) exhibiting equivocal or positive results in a CMV IgM capture ELISA (Diamedix). Of these 64 sera, 29 exhibited IgM index values of > or = 3.0, and 27 of these 29 (93%) exhibited low IgG avidity. A similar trend was observed when a subset of these 64 sera (n = 48) was tested in another CMV IgM capture ELISA (Trinity); of 18 sera with IgM index values of > or = 3.0, 17 (94%) exhibited low IgG avidity. These findings demonstrate the validity of an in-house ELISA for CMV IgG avidity and further show that strong reactivity of CMV IgG-positive sera in either of two CMV IgM capture assays is a reliable indicator of low CMV IgG avidity, and thus, recent CMV infection.

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