Development of a quantitative NS1 antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for Zika virus detection using a novel virus-specific mAb

Viruses from the Flaviviridae family, such as Dengue virus (DENV), Yellow fever virus (YFV), and Zika virus (ZIKV) are notorious global public health problems. ZIKV emergence in Polynesia and the Americas from 2013 to 2016 raised concerns as new distinguishing features set it apart from previous outbreaks, including its association with neurological complications and heightened disease severity. Virus detection is impaired as cross-reactivity to other closely related orthoflaviviruses is common among commercially available diagnostic kits. While non-structural protein 1 (NS1) has been used as an early marker of DENV and West Nile virus (WNV) infection, little is known about NS1 expression during ZIKV infection. In the present work, we developed a NS1 capture ELISA using a novel ZIKV-specific monoclonal antibody to study NS1 expression dynamics in vitro in mosquito and human cell lines. While detectable in culture supernatants, higher concentrations of NS1 were predominantly cell-associated. To our knowledge, this is the first report of NS1 detection in human cells despite viral clearance over time. Tests with human samples need to be conducted to validate the applicability of NS1 detection for diagnosis, but overall, the tools developed in this work are promising for specific detection of acute ZIKV infection.

Trim content

® The Pirbright Institute 2024 | A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 559784. The Institute is also a registered charity.