Serological Hendra Virus Diagnostics Using an Indirect ELISA-Based DIVA Approach with Recombinant Hendra G and N Proteins
Since the identification of Hendra virus (HeV) infections in horses in Australia in 1994, more than 80 outbreaks in horses have been reported, and four out of seven spillover infections in humans had a fatal outcome. With the availability of a subunit vaccine based on the HeV-Glycoprotein (HeV-G), there is a need to serologically Differentiate the Infected from the Vaccinated Animals (DIVA). We developed an indirect ELISA using HeV-G expressed in Leishmania tarentolae and HeV-Nucleoprotein (HeV-N) expressed in recombinant baculovirus-infected insect cells as antigens. During evaluation, we tested panels of sera from naïve, vaccinated and infected horses that either originated from a Hendra-virus free region, or had been pre-tested in validated diagnostic tests. Our data confirm the reliability of this approach, as HeV-N-specific antibodies were only detected in sera from infected horses, while HeV-G-specific antibodies were detected in infected and vaccinated horses with a high level of specificity and sensitivity. Given the excellent correlation of data obtained for German and Australian HeV-negative horses, we assume that this test can be applied for the testing of horse serum samples from a variety of geographical regions.