Indexed on: 26 Nov '11Published on: 26 Nov '11Published in: Journal of Virological Methods
Nipah virus (NiV), Paramyxoviridae, Henipavirus, is classified as a biosafety level (BSL) 4 pathogen, along with the closely related Hendra virus (HeV). A novel serum neutralization test was developed for measuring NiV neutralizing antibodies under BSL2 conditions using a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing secreted alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) and pseudotyped with NiV F/G proteins (VSV-NiV-SEAP). A unique characteristic of this novel assay is the ability to obtain neutralization titers by measuring SEAP activity in supernatant using a common ELISA plate reader. This confers a remarkable advantage over the first generation of NiV-pseudotypes expressing green fluorescent protein or luciferase, which require expensive and specific measuring equipment. Using panels of NiV- and HeV-specific sera from various species, the VSV-NiV-SEAP assay demonstrated neutralizing antibody status (positive/negative) consistent with that obtained by conventional live NiV test, and gave higher antibody titers than the latter. Additionally, when screening sixty-six fruit bat sera at one dilution, the VSV-NiV-SEAP assay produced identical results to the live NiV test and only required a very small amount (2μl) of sera. The results suggest that this novel VSV-NiV-SEAP assay is safe, useful for high-throughput screening of sera using an ELISA plate reader, and has high sensitivity and specificity.