A Recombinant Positive Control for Serology Diagnostic Tests Supporting Elimination of Onchocerca volvulus

Allison Golden, Eric J. Stevens, Lindsay Yokobe, Dunia Faulx, Michael Kalnoky, Roger Peck, Melissa Valdez, Cathy Steel, Potochoziou Karabou, Méba Banla, Peter T. Soboslay, Kangi Adade, Afework H. Tekle, Vitaliano A. Cama, Peter U. Fischer, Thomas B. Nutman, Thomas R. Unnasch, Tala de los Santos, Gonzalo J. Domingo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Serological assays for human IgG4 to the Onchocerca volvulus antigen Ov16 have been used to confirm elimination of onchocerciasis in much of the Americas and parts of Africa. A standardized source of positive control antibody (human anti-Ov16 IgG4) will ensure the quality of surveillance data using these tests. Methodology/Principal Findings: A recombinant human IgG4 antibody to Ov16 was identified by screening against a synthetic human Fab phage display library and converted into human IgG4. This antibody was developed into different positive control formulations for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and rapid diagnostic test (RDT) platforms. Variation in ELISA results and utility as a positive control of the antibody were assessed from multiple laboratories. Temperature and humidity conditions were collected across seven surveillance activities from 2011–2014 to inform stability requirements for RDTs and positive controls. The feasibility of the dried positive control for RDT was evaluated during onchocerciasis surveillance activity in Togo, in 2014. When the anti-Ov16 IgG4 antibody was used as a standard dilution in horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and alkaline phosphatase (AP) ELISAs, the detection limits were approximately 1ng/mL by HRP ELISA and 10ng/mL by AP ELISA. Positive control dilutions and spiked dried blood spots (DBS) produced similar ELISA results. Used as a simple plate normalization control, the positive control antibody may improve ELISA data comparison in the context of inter-laboratory variation. The aggregate temperature and humidity monitor data informed temperature parameters under which the dried positive control was tested and are applicable inputs for testing of diagnostics tools intended for sub-Saharan Africa. As a packaged positive control for Ov16 RDTs, stability of the antibody was demonstrated for over six months at relevant temperatures in the laboratory and for over 15 weeks under field conditions. Conclusions: The recombinant human anti-Ov16 IgG4 antibody-based positive control will benefit inter-laboratory validation of ELISA assays and serve as quality control (QC) reagents for Ov16 RDTs at different points of the supply chain from manufacturer to field use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0004292
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 8 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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