The most reliable test method for the serological confirmation of Lyme disease (LD) is a 2-tier method recommended by the CDC in 1995. The first-tier test is a low-specificity enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and the second-tier tests are higher-specificity IgG and IgM Western blots. This study describes the selection of two Borrelia burgdorferi recombinant proteins and evaluation of their performance in a simple 1-tier test for the serological confirmation of LD. These two proteins were generated from (i) the full-length dbpA gene combined with the invariable region 6 of the vlsE gene (DbpA/C6) and (b) the full-length ospC gene (OspC). The expressed DbpA/C6 and OspC proteins were useful in detecting anti-Borrelia IgG and IgM antibodies, respectively. A blind study was conducted on a well-characterized panel of 279 human sera from the CDC, comparing ELISAs using these two recombinant antigens with the 2-tier test method. The two methods (DbpA/C6-OspC versus 2-tier test) were equivalent in identifying sera from negative-control subjects (99% and 100% specificity, respectively) and in detecting stage II and III LD patient sera (100% and 100% sensitivity). However, the DbpA/C6-OspC ELISA was markedly better (80% versus 63%) than the 2-tier test method in detecting anti-Borrelia antibodies in stage I LD patients. The findings suggest that these antigens could be used in a simple 1-tier ELISA that is faster to perform, easier to interpret, and less expensive than the 2-tier test method and which is better at detecting Borrelia-specific antibodies in sera from patients with stage I LD.
Bradshaw, G. L., Thueson, R. K., & Uriona, T. J. (2017). Improved serodiagnostic performance for lyme disease by use of two recombinant proteins in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay compared to standardized two-tier testing. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 55(10), 3046–3056. https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.01004-17