Antibodies against non-structural protein 1 (NS1) are considered to be the most reliable indicator of a present or past infection by West Nile virus (WNV) in animals. In this study, an in-house competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (NS1-cELISA) utilizing baculovirus-expressed NS1 and monoclonal antibodies against NS1 was established for the detection of antibody responses to NS1 in WNV-infected animals. The assay was validated by the simultaneous detection of early antibody responses to NS1 and the structural envelope protein in animals infected with WNV, or inoculated with inactivated WNV. NS1-cELISA detected WNV antibodies at 6 days post-infection (dpi) in a WNV-infected rabbit (percent inhibition [PI] value of 84.0), and at 10 dpi in a WNV-infected chicken (PI value of 67.0). The NS1-cELISA was able to detect WNV antibodies in sera from all WNV-infected rabbits at 10 dpi (PI value of 79.2±18.0), and from three of four WNV-infected chickens at 14 dpi (PI value of 73.7±22.8). The results of this study demonstrate that the antibody response to NS1 is similar to that against envelope protein in WNV-infected rabbits and chickens, whereas animals inoculated with inactivated WNV develop antibody responses only to the envelope protein but not to NS1. The NS1-cELISA developed here has the potential to be a useful tool for monitoring WNV circulation (i.e., the prevalence of specific antibodies against WNV NS1), by assaying serum samples from regions in which an inactivated vaccine control strategy has been implemented.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases