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Diagnosis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection by Immunoassay Using a Molecularly Cloned and Expressed Virus Envelope Polypeptide: Comparison to Western Blot on 2707 Consecutive Serum Samples

DONALD S. BURKE, M.D.; BRENDA L. BRANDT, M.S.; ROBERT R. REDFIELD, M.D.; TUN-HOU LEE, Ph.D.; RICHARD M. THORN, Ph.D.; GERALD A. BELTZ, Ph.D.; and CHUNG-HO HUNG, Ph.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Donald S. Burke, COL, MC, Department of Virus Diseases, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Washington, DC 20307-5100.


Washington, D.C.; Boston and Hopkinton, Massachusetts


©1987 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1987;106(5):671-676. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-106-5-671
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To detect human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibodies in a simple enzyme-linked immunoassay (CBre3-EIA), we used an Escherichia coli-expressed polypeptide antigen, representing the carboxy-terminal third of the external membrane glycoprotein gene fused with the amino-terminal half of the transmembrane glycoprotein gene. Over a 3-month period, 2707 consecutive serum samples referred for confirmatory testing for human T-lymphotrophic virus type III (HTLV-III) antibodies were evaluated by both Western blot and CBre3-EIA. On a single determination for each sample, the CBre3-EIA was found to have an estimated sensitivity (99.9%) and specificity (99.1%) similar or superior to the more cumbersome Western blot method. This study shows that all HIV-seropositive subjects have antibodies to the virus envelope protein; no other virus antigens are required for construction of highly sensitive immunoassays.

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