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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 Mar;18(3):444-8. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00486-10. Epub 2010 Dec 29.

Evaluation of four commercial systems for the diagnosis of Epstein-Barr virus primary infections.

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Servicio de Microbiología Diagnóstica, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Majadahonda, 28220 Madrid, Spain.


To compare the performance of four diagnostic commercial systems for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) serology (for IgM and IgG virus capsid antigen [VCA] and EBV nuclear antigen [EBNA] antibodies), a collection of 125 samples from clinically suspected infectious mononucleosis cases was studied. Indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) for VCA IgM and IgG antibodies and anticomplement immunofluorescence for EBNA antibodies (Meridian Bioscience Inc.) were used as reference methods. By these methods, the cases were classified EBV primary infection (presence of IgM to VCA or IgG to VCA in the absence of EBNA antibodies; n = 82), EBV past infection (presence of VCA IgG and EBNA antibodies in the absence of VCA IgM; n = 26), or no infection (negative for the three markers; n = 17). The following systems were tested: two chemiluminescent immunoassays (CLIAs; the Liason [CLIA-L; DiaSorin] and the Immulite 2000 [CLIA-I; Siemens]), immunofiltration (IF; All.Diag), and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA; DiaSorin). In the IgM assays, sensitivities ranged from 67.1% (ELISA) to 92.2% (CLIA-L) and specificities ranged from 93.8% (CLIA-L) to 100% (IF). In the VCA IgG assays, sensitivities varied from 79.4% (IF) to 94.4% (CLIA-I) and specificities varied from 94.4% (IF and CLIA-L) to 100% (CLIA-I and ELISA). In EBNA assays, sensitivities ranged from 78.1% (IF) to 93.8% (CLIA-I) and specificities ranged from 32.3% (CLIA-L) to 91.4% (IF). In relation to EBV profiles, the corresponding figures for sensitivity (in detecting primary infection) for IF, CLIA-L, CLIA-I, and ELISA were 92.7%, 93.8%, 89%, and 89.6%, respectively, and those for specificity (to exclude primary recent infection) were 90.7%, 94.6%, 97.7%, and 95.2%, respectively. Although there were limitations in some individual markers, especially CLIA-L for EBNA IgG, the systems evaluated appear to be useful for diagnosis of EBV infection.

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