Comparison of test methodologies for foot-and-mouth disease virus serotype A vaccine matching

Tekleghiorghis, T.; Weerdmeester, K.; Hemert-Kluitenberg, F. van; Moormann, R.J.M.; Dekker, A.


Vaccination has been one of the most important interventions in disease prevention and control. The impact of vaccination largely depends on the quality and suitability of the chosen vaccine. To determine the suitability of a vaccine strain, antigenic matching is usually studied by in vitro analysis. In this study, we performed three in vitro test methods to determine which one gives the lowest variability and the highest discriminatory capacity. Binary ethylenimine inactivated vaccines, prepared from 10 different foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus serotype A strains, were used to vaccinate cattle (5 animals for each strain). The antibody titers in blood serum samples 3 weeks postvaccination (w.p.v.) were determined by a virus neutralization test, neutralization index test, and liquid-phase blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The titers were then used to calculate relationship coefficient (r1) values. These r1 values were compared to the genetic lineage using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. In the two neutralization test methods, the median titers observed against the test strains differed considerably, and the sera of the vaccinated animals did not always show the highest titers against their respective homologous virus strains. When the titers were corrected for test strain effect (scaling), the variability (standard error of the mean per vaccinated group) increased because the results were on a different scale, but the discriminatory capacity improved. An ROC analysis of the r1 value calculated on both observed and scaled titers showed that only r1 values of the liquid-phase blocking ELISA gave a consistent statistically significant result. Under the conditions of the present study, the liquid-phase blocking ELISA showed less variation and still had a higher discriminatory capacity than the other tests.