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Sero-Prevalence and Cross-Reactivity of Chikungunya Virus Specific Anti-E2EP3 Antibodies in Arbovirus-Infected Patients
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    Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and clinically-related arboviruses cause large epidemics with serious economic and social impact. As clinical symptoms of CHIKV infections are similar to several flavivirus infections, good detection methods to identify CHIKV infection are desired for improved treatment and clinical management. The strength of anti-E2EP3 antibody responses was explored in a longitudinal study on 38 CHIKV-infected patients. We compared their anti-E2EP3 responses with those of patients infected with non-CHIKV alphaviruses, or flaviviruses. E2EP3 cross-reactive samples from patients infected with non-CHIKV viruses were further analyzed with an in vitro CHIKV neutralization assay. CHIKV-specific anti-E2EP3 antibody responses were detected in 72% to 100% of patients. Serum samples from patients infected with other non-CHIKV alphaviruses were cross-reactive to E2EP3. Interestingly, some of these antibodies demonstrated clearly in vitro CHIKV neutralizing activity. Contrastingly, serum samples from flaviviruses-infected patients showed a low level of cross-reactivity against E2EP3. Using CHIKV E2EP3 as a serology marker not only allows early detection of CHIKV specific antibodies, but would also allow the differentiation between CHIKV infections and flavivirus infections with 93% accuracy, thereby allowing precise acute febrile diagnosis and improving clinical management in regions newly suffering from CHIKV outbreaks including the Americas.

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