Onchocerca Volvulus: Detection of Circulating Antigen by Monoclonal Antibodies in Human Onchocerciasis

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  • 1 Centre d'Immunologie et de Biologie Parasitaire (INSERM U 167, CNRS ERA 422), 15 rue Camille Guérin, 59019—Lille Cedex, France
  • | Centro Panamericano para Investigación y Adestramiento en Lepra y Enfermedades Tropicales (CEPIALET) OPS/OMS, Instituto Nacional de Dermatologie, UCV—Apartado 4043, Caracas 1010 A, Venezuela

A monoclonal antibody of the IgM class recognizing Onchocerca volvulus circulating antigen (COA) was obtained. This monoclonal antibody was used in a radioimmunoprecipitation-PEG assay (RIPEGA) to detect circulating antigen in onchocerciasis patients' sera. COA could be detected in 63 (80%) of the 79 African patient sera tested, and in 126 (76%) of the 164 Indian (Venezuela) sera studied. There was no direct correlation between the presence of COA detected in the patient serum and the level of microfilarodermia. The RIPEGA using this monoclonal antibody detected COA in 91% of children under 10 years old, whereas the microfilarodermia in this group was positive in only 52% of the cases. The specificity of this test is improved compared to the results obtained with polyclonal antibodies. Immunofluorescence studies suggest that the COA might be located in the microfilaria cuticle.