Interassay Correlation of Human Herpesvirus 8 Serologic Tests

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To standardize human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) antibody assays for application to asymptomatic infection, a blinded comparison was done of seven immunofluorescence assays and ELISAs. Five experienced laboratories tested a serum panel from 143 subjects in 4 diagnostic groups. Except for a minor capsid protein ELISA, the other six tests detected HHV-8 antibodies most frequently in classic (80%-100%) and AIDS-related (67%-91%) Kaposi's sarcoma, followed by human immunodeficiency virus-seropositive patients (27%-60%), and least frequently in healthy blood donors (0-29%). However, these six assays frequently disagreed on individual sera, particularly for blood donor samples. Current HHV-8 antibody tests have uncertain accuracy in asymptomatic HHV-8 infection and may require correlation with viral protein or nucleic acid detection. Antibody assays are useful for epidemiologic investigations, but the absolute prevalence of HHV-8 infection in the United States cannot yet be determined.

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