Comparison of Western immunoblotting and the C6 Lyme antibody test for laboratory detection of Lyme disease

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2004 Sep;11(5):924-9. doi: 10.1128/CDLI.11.5.924-929.2004.


Three commercial Lyme disease Western immunoblotting (WB) kits and the C6 Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit were compared using two commercially available performance panels from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Boston Biomedica (BBI). Combined, the panels consisted of 52 characterized specimens. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) sensitivity was similar for the three WB products. The BBI and Marblot WBs were more specific for IgG antibodies, while the Virablot was the most sensitive for IgM antibody. The BBI WB was 100% specific for IgM, while Marblot was 97% and Virablot was 77% specific for IgM. The C6 ELISA was found to be 100% sensitive. Four false-positive C6 results were identified in patients that had clinically and microbiologically confirmed Lyme disease but were not detected by the CDC reference methods. No one WB product showed overall superiority. The C6 ELISA shows promise as the first ELISA for Lyme disease that would not require a supplemental test such as a WB.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Blotting, Western / standards
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / standards
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Lyme Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lyme Disease / immunology
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic / standards
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic