Development and Standardization of a High-Throughput Multiplex Immunoassay for the Simultaneous Quantification of Specific Antibodies to Five Respiratory Syncytial Virus Proteins

Rutger M. Schepp, Cornelis A. M. de Haan, Deidre Wilkins, Hans Layman, Barney S. Graham, Mark T. Esser, Guy A. M. Berbers


Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of severe respiratory disease in (premature) newborns and causes respiratory illness in the elderly. Different monoclonal antibody (MAb) and vaccine candidates are in development worldwide and will hopefully become available within the near future. To implement such RSV vaccines, adequate decisions about immunization schedules and the different target group(s) need to be made, for which the assessment of antibody levels against RSV is essential. To survey RSV antigen-specific antibody levels, we developed a serological multiplex immunoassay (MIA) that determines and distinguishes antibodies against the five RSV glycoproteins postfusion F, prefusion F, Ga, Gb, and N simultaneously. The standardized RSV pentaplex MIA is sensitive, highly reproducible, and specific for the five RSV proteins. The preservation of the conformational structure of the immunodominant site Ø of prefusion F after conjugation to the beads has been confirmed. Importantly, good correlation is obtained between the microneutralization test and the MIA for all five proteins, resulting in an arbitrarily chosen cutoff value of prefusion F antibody levels for seropositivity in the microneutralization assay. The wide dynamic range requiring only two serum sample dilutions makes the RSV-MIA a high-throughput assay very suitable for (large-scale) serosurveillance and vaccine clinical studies.IMPORTANCE In view of vaccine and monoclonal development to reduce hospitalization and death due to lower respiratory tract infection caused by RSV, assessment of antibody levels against RSV is essential. This newly developed multiplex immunoassay is able to measure antibody levels against five RSV proteins simultaneously. This can provide valuable insight into the dynamics of (maternal) antibody levels and RSV infection in infants and toddlers during the first few years of life, when primary RSV infection occurs.

Keywords: assay development; immunoassays; multiplex; respiratory syncytial virus.

Full article here.