European Sero-Epidemiology Network: Standardisation of the assay results for pertussis

A. Giammanco*, A. Chiarini, P. A.C. Maple, N. Andrews, R. Pebody, N. Gay, R. M. Ölander, F. Fivet-Groyne, S. Baron, A. Tischer, S. Swidsinski, J. Schellekens, E. Reizenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


A standardisation process was developed in order to compare and harmonise serological results of pertussis toxin (PT) antibody measurements performed by laboratories using different technical procedures for detection. This involved the development of a common panel, of sera by a designed reference centre, the distribution of the panel to each participating laboratory for testing with their routine methods, the comparison of the obtained results to those of the reference centre, and the calculation of standardisation equations by regressing the quantitative results against those of the reference centre. As a cut-off indicative of protection against pertussis has not yet been defined, a particular emphasis was laid upon achieving standardisation of high titre results that would allow epidemiological evaluations based on the estimation of the incidence of recent infections rather than on the traditional approach of determining the population immunity profile. A generally good agreement was achieved between the participating laboratories, all using ELISA procedures very similar in many crucial aspects, and standardisation equations were produced useful to enable inter-country comparison during the next stages of the European Sero-Epidemiology Network (ESEN) project concerning the serological surveillance of immunity to pertussis in Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-120
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge for excellent assistance in performing assays: Taormina Susanna (Italy), Cerys Jones (Britain), Paalanen Paivi, Vountela Kaija (Finland), Wagner Veronika (Germany), Ljungman Margaretha (Sweden). This work was funded by a grant from DG X11 of the European Union under project number PL95-1039.


  • Antibodies
  • Assay standardisation
  • European Sero-Epidemiology Network
  • Pertussis toxin


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