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In a small percentage of cases, they may also cause hepatitis (9) or encephalitis (8, 15). Flaviviruses are enveloped, single-strand RNA viruses. The genomic RNA is approximately 11 kb in size and encodes three structural proteins: C (core protein), M (membrane protein), and E (envelope protein).
The genomic RNA is translated to generate a large polyprotein precursor, which is cotranslationally processed by host cell- and virus-encoded proteases to yield the individual viral proteins.
NS1 is a highly conserved glycoprotein that seems to be essential for virus viability but has no established biological activity.
A diagnostic strategy combining the Platelia Dengue NS1 Ag test for acute-phase sera and immunoglobulin M capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for early-convalescent-phase sera increased sensitivity only from 88.7% to 91.9%.
Thus, NS1 antigen detection with the Platelia Dengue NS1 Ag kit could be used for first-line testing for acute dengue virus infection in clinical diagnostic laboratories.
Commercial MAC-ELISA kits are available, but they cannot be used for early diagnosis, because Ig M does not become detectable until 5 to 10 days after the onset of illness in cases of primary dengue virus infection and until 4 to 5 days after the onset of illness in secondary infections (22).
In this study, we evaluated a new diagnostic tool for acute dengue virus infection, based on an enzyme immunoassay for detecting dengue virus NS1 antigen (Ag) in human serum, using the Platelia Dengue NS1 Ag kit (Bio-Rad Laboratories, Marnes La Coquette, France).