European seroepidemiology network 2: Standardisation of assays for seroepidemiology of varicella zoster virus

Fernando de Ory*, José Manuel Echevarría, George Kafatos, Cleo Anastassopoulou, Nick Andrews, Josephine Backhouse, Guy Berbers, Blazena Bruckova, Daniel I. Cohen, Hester de Melker, Irja Davidkin, Giovanni Gabutti, Louise M. Hesketh, Kari Johansen, Sari Jokinen, Lindsay Jones, Anika Linde, Elisabeth Miller, Joël Mossong, Anthony NardoneMaria Cristina Rota, Andreas Sauerbrei, François Schneider, Zahava Smetana, Annedore Tischer, Athanassios Tsakris, Robert Vranckx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The aim of the European Sero-Epidemiology Network (ESEN2) is to harmonise the serological surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases in Europe. Objective: To allow comparison of antibody prevalence in different countries by standardising results into common units. Study design: For varicella zoster virus (VZV), a reference laboratory established a panel of 148 samples, characterised by indirect enzyme-immunoassay (ELISA), indirect immunofluorescence, and complement fixation test. Fifty-seven samples were also studied by the fluorescence antibody to membrane antigen test. The geometric mean of the antibody activity (GMAA) obtained from four ELISA determinations was used to characterise each sample of the panel as positive (GMAA: >100 mIU/ml), equivocal (GMAA: 50-100 mIU/ml) or negative (GMAA: <50 mIU/ml) for antibody to VZV (anti-VZV). Thirteen laboratories, using five different ELISA tests, tested the panel. Results: Agreement with the reference laboratory was above 85% in all cases, and the R2 values obtained from regression analysis of the quantitative results were always higher than 0.87. Finally, the regression equations could be used to convert national values into a common unitage. Conclusion: This study confirmed that results for anti-VZV obtained by different ELISA methods can be converted into common units, enabling the comparison of the seroprevalence profiles obtained in the participant countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was partially funded by a grant from the Directoriate Research of the European Commission QLK2-CT-2000-00542. Further sources of funding: CRP-Santé (Luxembourg); ISCIII MPY1075/01 (Spain).


  • Fluorescent antibody to membrane antigen
  • Indirect immunofluorescence
  • Seroepidemiology
  • Standardisation
  • Varicella zoster virus


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