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Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy
Vol. 22 (4), 2016, Pages: 225–228

Varicella zoster virus antibody detection: A comparison of four commonly used techniques

Naruhito Otani, Miyuki Tanaka, Kazuhiro Maeda, Yasuyuki Gomi, Kazuhiko Nakajima, Susumu Tanimura, Yoshio Takesue, Masayuki Shima, Toshiomi Okuno

Department of Public Health, Hyogo College of Medicine, Nishinomiya, Japan.



Antibody tests for the varicella zoster virus (VZV) include neutralization, fluorescent antibody to membrane antigen (FAMA), immune adherence hemagglutination (IAHA), enzyme immunoassay (EIA), glycoprotein-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (gpELISA), and complement fixation (CF) tests. Of these, FAMA is considered the most sensitive. However, in Japan, the EIA method is most frequently employed.


The VZV antibody detection rate of the FAMA, EIA, gpELISA, and IAHA methods was compared.


Four types of antibody tests were conducted with sera collected from 83 college students. The relationships between two antibody tests were examined using Pearson's correlation coefficients.


All 83 subjects were observed to be VZV antibody-positive using the FAMA method. The Pearson correlation coefficients of gpELISA, EIA, and IAHA relative to FAMA were 0.808, 0.782, and 0.356, respectively. The positive agreement rate of IAHA relative to FAMA was 88.0% (73/83), whereas those of gpELISA and EIA were both 97.6% (81/83). Furthermore, EIA showed 100% positive agreement with gpELISA and a high correlation coefficient of 0.911, whereas these values for IAHA compared to gpELISA were much lower (90.1% and 0.530). The calculated Pearson correlation coefficient for comparison of the EIA and IAHA methods was 0.498, with a positive agreement rate of 90.1% (73/81).


The EIA method should be employed in Japan based on the similarity of the positivity between EIA and gpELISA, as it is more available and practical than gpELISA.

Keywords: Varicella zoster virus; Antibody; Vaccine; FAMA; EIA.

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