Twelve T.b. gambiense clone populations of distinct Variable Antigen Type (VAT) were combined in immune lysis tests with 340 sera of trypanosome infected patients from 8 different African countries and 267 non trypanosomiasis control sera. The diagnostic specificity of the test was 100%. At a serum dilution of 1:4 the overall test sensitivity with single VATs varied from 39.1 to 98.2% and from 12.1 to 86.8% at 1:32. At a serum dilution of 1:32 some combination tests with 2 VATs still scored above 96%. The VAT recognition patterns were clearly correlated with the geographical origin of the sera, reflecting a diversity in variable antigen repertoires.