We have utilized monoclonal antibodies in immune affinity chromatography to purify each of the 3 major glycoproteins of varicella-zoster virus (VZV), gpI, gpII, and gpIII, in immunologically active form. Upon injection into guinea pigs, each preparation elicited the production of specific antibodies capable of immunoprecipitating the homologous glycoprotein and of neutralizing VZV infectivity in vitro. Also, total glycoproteins from VZV-infected cells have been purified by lectin affinity chromatography. Each of the individual purified glycoproteins, as well as total VZV glycoproteins and appropriate uninfected cell protein controls, have been employed as solid-phase reagents in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection of antibodies directed against specific VZV glycoproteins. The specificity of the purified glycoproteins as ELISA reagents was verified by the ability of individual monoclonal antibodies to bind specifically to individual glycoprotein preparations. We have demonstrated the utility of the glycoprotein-specific ELISA by detecting antibodies in sera from post-zoster and post-varicella patients. The assay detects antibodies directed against each of the 3 major glycoproteins and is sensitive enough to detect antibodies in a 1:320 000 dilution of some sera. This assay, as well as the purified individual glycoproteins per se, should prove to be very useful reagents in understanding the role of each of gpI, gpII, and gpIII in immunity to VZV.