Pages 389 - 401 Volume 82, Issue 4
Comparison of three immunological tests for leprosy diagnosis and detection of subclinical infection

Our aim was to compare the performance of three serological assays in leprosy patients and their household contacts utilising two quantitative ELISA tests using native PGL-I (PGL-1 ELISA), synthetic ND-O-HSA (ND-O-HSA ELISA), and the semi-quantitative lateral flow test (ML Flow).


Comparisons among three immunological assays, PGL-I ELISA, ND-O- HSA ELISA, and ML Flow were performed in 154 leprosy patients, 191 household contacts and 52 health subjects.


The sensitivity results of the PGL-1, ND-O-HSA, and ML Flow were 68.83%, 63.84%, and 60.65%, respectively, with specificity of 98% for both ELISA assays. The native and synthetic PGL-I ELISA assays detected antibodies in 22.73% and 31.82% of the paucibacillary (PB) patients, respectively and the ML Flow test did not detect antibodies in this group. The ML Flow test was able to discriminate patients into PB or multibacillary (MB) forms, while the native PGL-I and ND-O- HSA was correlated with the bacillary load and the Ridley-Jopling clinical forms. In household contacts, the native PGL-I, ND-O-HSA, and ML Flow assays detected seropositivity of 25%, 17%, and 10%, respectively.


The use of ELISA and ML Flow tests are thus recommended as additional tools in the diagnosis and classification of the clinical forms, aiding in prescribing the correct treatment regimen to prevent subsequent nerve damage and disability, and besides, the PGL-I ELISA may be used to detect subclinical infection in leprosy.

Cite this article
Janaina Lobato, Mariana Pena Costa, Érica De Melo Reis, Maria Aparecida Gonçalves, John S. Spencer, Patrick J. Brennan, Luiz Ricardo Goulart, Isabela Maria Bernardes Goulart;
Comparison of three immunological tests for leprosy diagnosis and detection of subclinical infection; Leprosy Review; 2011; 82; 4; 389-401; DOI: 10.47276/lr.82.4.389
Leprosy Review
British Leprosy Relief Association
Colchester, UK