Background and aim: The purpose of the present study was to develop enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for the detection of IgG anti-hepatitis E virus (HEV) activity using two new recombinant proteins as antigenic targets, and to evaluate these EIA with the aid of statistical methods.
Methods: Two proteins, a mosaic protein and pB166 containing region 452-617 aa of the ORF2 of the HEV Burma strain, were used to develop the new HEV EIA. This EIA was evaluated using several panels of serum specimens obtained from: (i) acutely HEV-infected patients; (ii) patients with non-A, non-C hepatitis; (iii) normal blood donors (NBD) from non-endemic countries; and (iv) experimentally infected chimpanzees.
Results: A new HEV EIA was developed using two new recombinant proteins. This assay was able to detect anti-HEV activity in all specimens from acutely HEV-infected patients. When NBD were tested, more than 15% of specimens were found to be IgG anti-HEV positive. All NBD anti-HEV-positive specimens were tested with overlapping synthetic peptides spanning the entire HEV ORF2-encoded protein. More than 90% of the anti-HEV-positive NBD specimens immunoreacted with an average of 15 synthetic peptides derived from different regions of the HEV ORF2 protein. These data suggest that the HEV EIA is at least 90% specific in detecting remote HEV infections.
Conclusion: The new HEV EIA developed in the present study is a highly specific diagnostic assay for the detection of anti-HEV activity in serum specimens obtained from different epidemiologic settings.
Copyright 2002 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd