Development of a highly specific test system for the diagnosis of Chagas' disease (CD) was sought using Gp25, a surface glycoprotein recently isolated from Trypanosoma cruzi culture forms. Radioimmunoprecipitation assays were performed to screen 567 sera for IgG antibodies to Gp25. Correct diagnosis was attained in 97.8% of the 321 sera collected from chagasic patients in several endemic areas of South America.
Sera from patients with various clinical forms of chronic disease displayed similar levels of antibodies (Abs) to Gp25. Moreover, there was little cross-reactivity when assayed against 246 sera from non-chagasic individuals, including 105 samples from individuals infected with unrelated trypanosomatids. Cross-reactivity was found in two such sera; these were used to identify a minor protein contaminant as the nonspecific antigen. Residual cross-reactive molecules were eliminated from Gp25 by affinity purification on Concanavalin A (Con A) columns. We recommend this antigen-antibody system for use in routine screening of blood donors.