Comparison of two automated instruments for Epstein-Barr virus serology in a large adult hospital and implementation of an Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen-based testing algorithm

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Serology remains the mainstay for diagnosis of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. This study compared two automated platforms (BioPlex 2200 and Architect i2000SR) to test three EBV serological markers: viral capsid antigen (VCA) immunoglobulins of class M (IgM), VCA immunoglobulins of class G (IgG) and EBV nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1) IgG. Using sera from 65 patients at various stages of EBV disease, BioPlex demonstrated near-perfect agreement for all EBV markers compared to a consensus reference. The agreement for Architect was near-perfect for VCA IgG and EBNA-1 IgG, and substantial for VCA IgM despite five equivocal results. Since the majority of testing in our hospital was from adults with EBNA-1 IgG positive results, post-implementation analysis of an EBNA-based algorithm showed advantages over parallel testing of the three serologic markers. This small verification demonstrated that both automated systems for EBV serology had good performance for all EBV markers, and an EBNA-based testing algorithm is ideal for an adult hospital.

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