Rapid Neutralization Testing System for Zika Virus Based on an Enzyme-Linked Immunospot Assay

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Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that has been associated with neuropathology in fetuses and adults, imposing a serious health concern. Therefore, the development of a vaccine is a global health priority. Notably, neutralization tests have a significant value for vaccine development and virus diagnosis. The cytopathic effect (CPE)-based neutralization test (Nt-CPE) is a common neutralization method for ZIKV. However, this method has some drawbacks, such as being time-consuming and labor-intensive and having low-throughput, which precludes its application in the detection of large numbers of specimens. To improve this problem, we developed a neutralization test based on an enzyme-linked immunospot assay (Nt-ELISPOT) for ZIKV and performed the assay in a 96-well format. A monoclonal antibody (mAb), 11C11, with high affinity and reactivity to ZIKV was used to detect ZIKV-infected cells. To optimize this method, the infectious dose of ZIKV was set at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 0.0625, and a detection experiment was performed after incubating for 24 h. As a result, under these conditions, the Nt-ELISPOT had good consistency with the traditional Nt-CPE to measure neutralizing titers of sera and neutralizing antibodies. Additionally, three neutralizing antibodies against ZIKV were screened by this method. Overall, we successfully developed an efficient neutralization test for ZIKV that is high-throughput and rapid. This Nt-ELISPOT can potentially be applied to detecting neutralizing titers of large numbers of specimens in vaccine evaluation and neutralizing antibody screening for ZIKV.

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