The cause of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, was discovered in 1983. A 2-tiered testing protocol was established for serodiagnosis in 1994, involving an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or indirect fluorescence antibody, followed (if reactive) by immunoglobulin M and immunoglobulin G Western immunoblots. These assays were prepared from whole-cell cultured B. burgdorferi, lacking key in vivo expressed antigens and expressing antigens that can bind non-Borrelia antibodies. Additional drawbacks, particular to the Western immunoblot component, include low sensitivity in early infection, technical complexity, and subjective interpretation when scored by visual examination. Nevertheless, 2-tiered testing with immunoblotting remains the benchmark for evaluation of new methods or approaches. Next-generation serologic assays, prepared with recombinant proteins or synthetic peptides, and alternative testing protocols, can now overcome or circumvent many of these past drawbacks. This article describes next-generation serodiagnostic testing for Lyme disease, focusing on methods that are currently available or near-at-hand.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases
- Borrelia burgdorferi
- Lyme disease