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J Clin Microbiol. 1985 Nov;22(5):782-5.

Rapid detection of respiratory syncytial virus in nasopharyngeal secretions by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


A new enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) respiratory syncytial virus antigen detection kit (Ortho Diagnostics, Inc., Raritan, N.J.) was compared with virus culture and with the indirect fluorescent antibody test (FAT) by using fresh nasal washings from children with suspected respiratory syncytial virus infection. Both uncentrifuged nasal washings and pellets from centrifuged split specimens were examined by ELISA. The ELISA was considered positive when the optical density was greater than the mean background optical density plus 0.15. Specimens positive by ELISA but negative by culture and FAT were reexamined in an ELISA blocking assay. Of 337 uncentrifuged specimens, 124 (37%) were positive by culture, 107 (32%) were positive by FAT, and 166 (49%) were positive by ELISA. Blocking assays showed that 21 of 30 (70%) of the seemingly false-positive ELISA tests were, in fact, true-positives and that the cultures and FATs were falsely negative. A patient specimen was considered positive when it was positive by virus culture, FAT, or blocking assay. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value of the ELISA test were 88, 94, and 95%, respectively. Centrifugation of nasal washings raised the sensitivity from 88 to 92% but reduced the specificity from 94 to 81%. We conclude that the Ortho ELISA test of uncentrifuged nasal washings is more sensitive than virus culture or indirect FAT and is highly specific.

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