Field evaluation of four novel enzyme immunoassays for Chagas' disease in Venezuela blood banks: comparison of assays using fixed-epimastigotes, fixed-trypomastigotes or trypomastigote excreted-secreted antigens from two Trypanosoma cruzi strains

Transfus Med. 2006 Dec;16(6):419-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3148.2006.00703.x.


Many serological tests have been developed for the diagnosis of Chagas' disease, but few have been subjected to a rigorous field evaluation. We have recently described several novel enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) based on fixed-whole organisms or trypomastigote excretory-secretory antigens (TESA) from different Trypanosoma cruzi strains (Tulahuen or Brazil). This study evaluated the most promising of these novel assays (e.g. fixed-epimastigotes, fixed-trypomastigotes, TESA Brazil and TESA Tulahuen antigens) in a field study of Venezuelan blood bank specimens. The assays were tested in an operator-blinded fashion using 2038 blood bank samples obtained from low and high T.cruzi prevalence regions of Venezuela (n= 1050 and n= 988 from Bolivar and Portuguesa states, respectively). Based on National Laboratory for Chagas Immunodiagnosis (NLCI) 'gold standard' results, all novel EIAs were superior to the commercial kit currently used in Venezuela, achieving 100% sensitivity and >99% specificity at optimal cut-off values. The novel assays identified seven false-negative samples compared with the routine screening performed by the Venezuelan blood bank although two samples were also misclassified as positive. Minor differences in the performance of the four novel assays were observed at lower arbitrary cut-off values. This study confirms the potential utility of both the fixed-organism and the TESA-based assays in the diagnosis of T.cruzi infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / isolation & purification*
  • Antigens, Protozoan / analysis*
  • Antigens, Protozoan / immunology
  • Blood Banks / standards*
  • Chagas Disease / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • ROC Curve
  • Serologic Tests / methods
  • Transfusion Reaction
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Antigens, Protozoan