Determination of coronavirus 229E antibody by an immune-adherence hemagglutination method

G. Gerna, G. Achilli, E. Cattaneo, P. Cereda

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An immune ahderence hemagglutination (IAHA) method for coronavirus 229E antibody determination has been developed both for diagnosis of recent infections and for detection of long-past infections. Results have been compared with those obtained by complement fixation (CF), neutralization (Nt), and indirect hemagglutination (IHA) tests. The IAHA method has been shown to be as sensitive as the CF, Nt, and IHA tests in detecting cases of acute 229E infection. However, in a seroepidemiological survey of 343 healthy people of all ages, IAHA detected 229E antibody in 254 individuals (74.0%), Nt in 166 (48.3%), IHA in 89 (25.9%), and CF in 30 (8.7%). A study of the prevalence of coronavirus 229E IAHA antibody in the different age groups has shown that during the second decade of life nearly 100% of the population acquire this type of antibody, whereas only 50% are positive at the end of the first decade. In the older age groups, the high frequency of CF antibody ('marker' of recent infection) indirectly confirms the high rate of 229E reinfections and the nonprotective nature of IAHA antibody. CF titer ≥ 1:8 in 90% of cases corresponded to IAHA titers ≥ 1: 64. However, sera with IAHA titers of ≥ 1:128 were often CF-negative. Recent 229E infections (or reinfections), as determined by the presence of CF antibody, were more frequent in April-May than in October-November. Three cases of acute infection showing 229E seroconverion (two adults and one child) were observed during the winter-spring season. IAHA appears to be the test of choice for seroepidemiological surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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