A new lyophilized tachyzoite based ELISA to diagnose Besnoitia spp. infection in bovids and wild ruminants improves specificity
Recent studies have reported that routinely used whole or soluble Besnoitia besnoiti tachyzoite (TZ) extract-based ELISAs potentially give rise to a high number of false-positive results, which may compromise control and the epidemiological studies of bovine besnoitiosis. Thus, western blot (WB) has been recommended as a confirmatory test. In the present study, a new ELISA test that employs lyophilized tachyzoites for the first time (BbSALUVET ELISA 2.0) was developed and validated with cattle sera (n = 606) under a worst-case scenario. False positive and false negative, soluble TZ extract-based BbSALUVET ELISA 1.0 reactors were overrepresented, and WB was used as the reference test. One commercial test (PrioCHECK Besnoitia Ab 2.0, which employs whole TZ extract) and a recently developed membrane-enriched ELISA (APure-BbELISA) were also tested. The three ELISAs showed high AUC values (> 0.9). However, the best diagnostic performance corresponded to the BbSALUVET ELISA 2.0 and the APure-BbELISA [(92% sensitivity (Se) and 98% specificity (Sp)] followed by PrioCHECK Besnoitia Ab 2.0 (88% Se, 98% Sp, and 4.5% doubtful results). In addition, the BbSALUVET ELISA 2.0 was validated with wild ruminant sera, and excellent performance (96% Se, 97% Sp, and 4% doubtful results) was obtained again. A different antigenic composition of the lyophilized tachyzoites, compared with whole or soluble tachyzoite extracts, may be responsible for the improved diagnostic performance. This study proposes the use of the BbSALUVET ELISA 2.0 in cattle prior to entry to herds free of the disease and in valuable samples prior to a selective culling without the need of a confirmatory Western Blot test in positive samples due to its excellent specificity.
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