A monoclonal antibody designated Gib 13 has been used in an immunoradiometric assay (IRMA) to detect circulating antigen in the sera of Wuchereria bancrofti-infected subjects from an endemic area of Papua New Guinea. A clear association between the presence of patent infection and the Gib 13 target epitope in serum was established because 93% of microfilaremic individuals were antigen-positive. Moreover, there was a significant correlation between levels of serum antigen and blood microfilarial counts. Detection of circulating antigen in amicrofilaremic subjects with acute symptoms of lymphatic filariasis, and 53% of asymptomatic amicrofilaremic subjects, but not in nonendemic controls, suggests that the Gib 13 IRMA will also be of value in the diagnosis of occult filariasis. However, as in all IRMA based on detection of potentially immunogenic molecules in man, antibodies can be expected to be the major contributor to reduced sensitivity of the assay.

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