A field usable qualitative anti-protective antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for serodiagnosis of human anthrax



Ajay Kumar Goel, Biotechnology Division, Defence Research and Development Establishment, Gwalior-474 002, India. Tel: 91 751 2233742; fax: 91 751 2341148; email: akgoel73@yahoo.co.uk


Although all mammals, including humans, are vulnerable when they come into direct contact with infected animals, anthrax is primarily a disease of herbivorous animals. In countries like India, cutaneous anthrax is a public health problem in several regions. Hence, a simple and efficacious serodiagnostic assay for large scale surveillance of endemic populations is required. In the present study, a field-usable, qualitative ELISA was developed for serodiagnosis of human anthrax. Results are assessed on a visual basis and no sophisticated instruments are required. Anti-protective antigen (PA) IgG was determined by visual examination of ELISA results of 225 human serum samples (160 from healthy humans, 5 from PA vaccinated individuals and 60 from confirmed anthrax cases). Comparison of the ELISA results with the results obtained from optical density values showed compatible sensitivity and specificity. Assay sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were found to be 100%. The developed assay could be a very useful tool for serological diagnosis of anthrax infection in humans.