Evaluation of the diagnostic performance of onchocerca volvulus linear epitopes in a peptide enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

Ole Lagatie, Ann Verheyen, Erik Nijs, Bieke Van Dorst, Linda Batsa Debrah, Alex Debrah, Taniawati Supali, Erliyani Sartono, Lieven J. Stuyver

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Diagnostic tools for the detection of infection with Onchocerca volvulus are presently limited to microfilaria detection in skin biopsies and serological assessment using the Ov16 immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4) rapid test, both of which have limited sensitivity. We have investigated the diagnostic performance of a peptide enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based on immunodominant linear epitopes previously discovered. Peptides that were used in these assays were designated O. volvulus motif peptides (OvMP): OvMP-1 (VSV-EPVTTQET-VSV), OvMP-2 (VSV-KDGEDK-VSV), OvMP-3 (VSV-QTSNLD-VSV), and the combination of the latter two, OvMP-23 (VSV-KDGEDK-VSV-QTSNLD-VSV). Sensitivity (O. volvulus infection), specificity (non-helminth infections), and cross-reactivity (helminth infections) were determined using several panels of clinical plasma isolates. OvMP-1 was found to be very sensitive (100%) and specific (98.7%), but showed substantial cross-reactivity with other helminths. Of the other peptides, OvMP-23 was the most promising peptide with a sensitivity of 92.7%, a specificity of 100%, and a cross-reactivity of 6%. It was also demonstrated that these peptides were immunoreactive to IgG but not IgG4, and there is no correlation with the Ov16 IgG4 status, making them promising candidates to complement this already available test. Combination of the Ov16 IgG4 rapid test and OvMP-23 peptide ELISA led to a sensitivity of 97.3% for the detection of O. volvulus infection, without compromising specificity and with minimal impact on cross-reactivity. The available results open the opportunity for a “clinical utility use case” discussion for improved O. volvulus epidemiological mapping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-785
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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