Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is an infectious disease that is a significant cause of death among infants aged under 1 year and the elderly in Brazil. Serodiagnosis is a mainstay of VL elimination programs; however, it has significant limitations due to low accuracy.
This study aimed to evaluate three recombinant Leishmania infantum proteins (rFc, rC9, and rA2) selected from previous proteomics and genomics analyses to develop enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunochromatographic tests (ICT) for the serodiagnosis of human VL (HVL) and canine VL (CVL).
A total of 186 human (70 L. infantum-infected symptomatic, 20 other disease-infected, and 96 healthy) and 185 canine (82 L. infantum-infected symptomatic, 27 L. infantum-infected asymptomatic, and 76 healthy) sera samples were used for antibody detection.
Of the three proteins, rA2 (91.5% sensitivity and 87% specificity) and rC9 (95.7% sensitivity and 87.5% specificity) displayed the best performance in ELISA-HVL and ELISA-CVL, respectively. ICT-rA2 also displayed the best performance for HVL diagnosis (92.3% sensitivity and 88.0% specificity) and had high concordance with immunofluorescence antibody tests (IFAT), ELISA-rK39, IT-LEISH®, and ELISAEXT. ICT-rFc, ICT-rC9, and ICT-rA2 had sensitivities of 88.6%, 86.5%, and 87.0%, respectively, with specificity values of 84.0%, 92.0%, and 100%, respectively for CVL diagnosis.
The three antigens selected by us are promising candidates for VL diagnosis regardless of the test format, although the antigen combinations and test parameters may warrant further optimisation.
visceral leishmaniasis; recombinant proteins; diagnosis; ELISA; immunochromatographic test