To apply serological testing for human metapneumovirus (hMPV) to large-scale sera samples, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed in which purified virions were used as the antigen. The ELISA was evaluated using 102 human sera specimens from patients aged 0-59 years. There was a positive association between the ELISA results and neutralization test titers, with the correlation coefficients being greater in children <6 years old (rho=0.899, P<0.0001), which is consistent with a primary infection, than in persons >or=6 years old (rho=0.523, P<0.0001). Fifty sera samples were subjected to radioimmunoprecipitation to measure the quantity of antibodies to the fusion protein (RIP-F) and the nucleoprotein (RIP-N). The results showed significant associations between the ELISA titers and the amount of RIP-F as determined by radioimmunoprecipitation in children <6 years old (rho=0.804, P=0.0083) and in persons >or=6 years old (rho=0.577, P=0.0009). The correlation between the ELISA titer and the amount of RIP-N determined by radioimmunoprecipitation was not significant in persons >or=6 years old (rho=0.417, P=0.0829), although this correlation was significant in children <6 years old (rho=0.764, P=0.0137). The ELISA titer correlated with the amount of antibodies to the F protein, but not to the N protein. This whole virus-based ELISA will be useful for the diagnosis of hMPV infection in clinical laboratories and is also useful for the large-scale investigations, such as seroprevalence among residents of a particular region.
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