European sero-epidemiology network: standardisation of the results of diphtheria antitoxin assays

Vaccine. 2000 Aug 1;18(28):3287-96. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(00)00125-0.


A European Sero-Epidemiological Network (ESEN) was established with the aim to co-ordinate and harmonise serological surveillance of immunity to communicable diseases in Europe. In this study the inter-laboratory standardisation of diphtheria toxin antibody measurements is reported. A standard panel of 162 sera was tested by the participating laboratories using an in vitro assay of their choice: VERO cell toxin neutralisation assay (NT), double-antigen delayed time-resolved fluorescence immuno-assay (DA-DELFIA), double-antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (DAE), toxin binding inhibition test (ToBI) and an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The results were standardised using regression against the NT. The variations due to inter-laboratory and inter-assay variation, which would otherwise make it difficult directly to compare the main serum bank results by the different laboratories and the various assays were successfully minimised by the standardisation. The regression equations obtained will be used to transform the respective local results of testing the main serum bank into the reference test unitages. This study also gave the opportunity to compare the various assays within and between laboratories. This demonstrated a very high correlation between DA-DELFIA, DAE, ToBI and the NT. The ELISA showed a good correlation, too, however sera below some 0.1 IU/ml were overestimated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Diphtheria Antitoxin / analysis*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / standards
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / standards
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Vero Cells


  • Diphtheria Antitoxin