Brugia malayi infection is endemic in several Asian countries. Filaria-specific IgG4 antibody detection based on BmR1 recombinant antigen has been shown to be sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of brugian filariasis. Two formats of the test has been reported ie indirect ELISA (BE) and rapid dipstick test (BR). Since different test formats use different amounts of sample and reagents which may affect its sensitivity and specificity, this study was performed to compare these two test formats in the detection of B. malayi. A total of 264 blinded serum samples from India and Malaysia were employed. Group 1 comprised 164 samples from actively infected individuals and group 2 comprised 100 samples from filaria non-endemic areas. Sensitivity was 96.3% (158/164) and 90.8% (149/164) for rapid test and ELISA respectively; chi-square p=0.00. Both test formats demonstrated 100% specificity. Therefore the rapid test format was equally specific but more sensitive than the ELISA format. The ELISA format would be able to demonstrate decline in IgG4 titer post-treatment while the rapid test would be very useful for screening and diagnosis in the field.
An IgG4 ELISA based on a novel recombinant antigen was evaluated for detection of Brugia malayi infection, using 2487 sera from various institutions: 2031 samples from Universiti Sains Malaysia, 276 blinded sera from 2 other institutions in Malaysia, 140 blinded sera from India and 40 blinded sera from Thailand. These sera were from various groups of individuals, i.e., microfilaraemics, chronic patients, endemic normals, non-endemic normals and individuals with other parasitic and bacterial infections. Based on a cut-off optical density reading of 0.300, the IgG4 ELISA demonstrated specificity rates of 95.6-100%, sensitivity rates of 96-100%, positive predictive values of 75-100% and negative predictive values of 98.9-100%. These evaluation studies demonstrated the high specificity and sensitivity of this test for the detection of active B. malayi infection. Thus, the IgG4 ELISA would be very useful as a tool in diagnosis and in elimination programmes for brugian filariasis.
A multicentre evaluation of the Brugia Rapid dipstick test was performed using 1263 serum samples in four international laboratories, i.e. T.D. Medical College (TDMC, India), National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA), Swiss Tropical Institute (STI, Switzerland) and Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC, Netherlands). In comparison with microscopy, the dipstick demonstrated sensitivities of 97.2% (70 of 72) at TDMC, 91.6% (175 of 191) at LUMC and 100% (six of six) at STI. Sera of chronic patients showed a positivity rate of 11.3% (19 of 168) and 61.2% (71of 116) at TDMC and LUMC, respectively. All 266 sera of non-endemic normals from STI, NIH and LUMC tested negative with the dipstick. At LUMC, sera of 'endemic normals' (amicrofilaraemics with no clinical disease) from an area with approximately 35% microfilaria positivity showed 60.8% positive results (31 of 51), thus demonstrating the likelihood of many cryptic infections occurring in this population. Specificities of the test with Onchocerca volvulus sera were 98.8% (80 of 81) and 100% (10 of 10) at the NIH and STI, respectively; while specificity with Loa loa sera at the NIH was 84.6% (44 of 52). At the STI, the dipstick test also demonstrated 100% specificity when tested with 75 sera from various protozoan and helminthic infections.
A total of 753 serum samples from 6 institutions in 3 countries (Malaysia, Indonesia and India) were used to evaluate an immunochromatographic rapid dipstick test, Brugia Rapid, for diagnosis of Brugia malayi infection. The samples comprised sera from 207 microfilaria-positive individuals and 546 individuals from filaria non-endemic areas. The latter consisted of 70 individuals with soil-transmitted helminth infections, 68 with other helminth infections, 238 with protozoan infections, 12 with bacterial and viral infections and 158 healthy individuals. The dipstick is prepared with a goat anti-mouse antibody control line and a B. malayi recombinant-antigen test line. First, the dipstick is dipped into a well containing diluted patient serum, thus allowing specific anti-filarial antibody in the serum to react with the recombinant antigen. Then the dipstick is placed into an adjacent well containing reconstituted anti-human IgG4-gold. After 10 min, development of 2 red-purplish lines denotes a positive result and one line indicates a negative reaction. The overall results of the evaluation showed 97% sensitivity, 99% specificity, 97% positive predictive value and 99% negative predictive value. Brugia Rapid is thus a promising diagnostic tool for detection of B. malayi infection, and would be especially useful for the brugian filariasis elimination programme.