Development of an in-house ELISA to detect anti-HPV16-L1 antibodies in serum and dried blood spots

Bhatia, Ramya and Stewart, June and Moncur, Sharon and Cubie, Heather and Kavanagh, Kimberley and Pollock, Kevin G.J. and Busby-Earle, Camille and Williams, Alistair R.W. and Howie, Sarah and Cuschieri, Kate (2019) Development of an in-house ELISA to detect anti-HPV16-L1 antibodies in serum and dried blood spots. Journal of Virological Methods, 264. pp. 55-60. ISSN 1879-0984 (

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Measuring anti-HPV antibody levels is important for surveillance of the immunological response to both natural infection and vaccination. Here, an ELISA test for measurement of HPV-16L1 antibodies was developed and validated in sera and dried blood spots. An in-house ELISA was developed for measuring anti-HPV-16L1 IgA and IgG levels. The assay was standardized against WHO international standard serum and validated on serum, dried blood spots and cervical liquid based cytology samples from women attending colposcopy clinics in Scotland. Antibody avidity index was also measured in serum samples. The average HPV 16-L1 specific IgG and IgA levels measured in sera, in women attending a routine colposcopy service were 7.3 units/ml and 8.1 units/ml respectively. Significant correlations between serum and dried blood spot eluates for both IgG and IgA were observed indicating that the latter serve as a credible proxy for antibody levels. Average IgG Avidity Index was 35% (95% CI 25%-45%) suggesting previous, historical challenge with natural infection. This ELISA has potential for use in epidemiological and field studies of antibody prevalence and if coupled with avidity measurement may be of use in individual case monitoring of vaccine responses and failures.