A high-throughput test to detect varicella-zoster virus (VZV) antibodies in varicella vaccine recipients is not currently available. One of the most sensitive tests for detecting VZV antibodies after vaccination is the fluorescent antibody to membrane antigen (FAMA) test. Unfortunately, this test is labor-intensive, somewhat subjective to read, and not commercially available. Therefore, we developed a highly quantitative and high-throughput luciferase immunoprecipitation system (LIPS) assay to detect antibody to VZV glycoprotein E (gE). Tests of children who received the varicella vaccine showed that the gE LIPS assay had 90% sensitivity and 70% specificity, a viral capsid antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) had 67% and 87% specificity, and a glycoprotein ELISA (not commercially available in the United States) had 94% sensitivity and 74% specificity compared with the FAMA test. The rates of antibody detection by the gE LIPS and glycoprotein ELISA were not statistically different. Therefore, the gE LIPS assay may be useful for detecting VZV antibodies in varicella vaccine recipients. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT00921999.).
Clin. Vaccine Immunol.
Detection of antibodies to varicella-zoster virus in recipients of the varicella vaccine by using a luciferase immunoprecipitation system assay.