Correlation between herpes simplex virus neutralizing antibody titers determined by ELVIS cell and traditional plaque reduction assays.
Preventive viral vaccine efficacy trials require large-scale sample analysis to quantitate immune responses and their correlation with infection outcomes. Traditional plaque reduction assays measure a functionally important form of humoral immunity, neutralizing antibody titer. These assays, however, are time-consuming and laborious. We previously developed a higher throughput assay of neutralizing antibody to herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 (Blevins et al., PLOS ONE, 10(12), e0144738) using the enzyme-linked virus inducible system (ELVIS) cell line; this cell line produces β-galactosidase in response to HSV infection. Here, serum samples from recipients of an investigational vaccine in the Herpevac Trial for Women were used to compare the ELVIS cell assay with the lower throughput, traditional plaque reduction assay. We demonstrate that neutralizing antibody titers to HSV-1 or HSV-2 determined using ELVIS cells positively correlate with neutralizing antibody titers determined by traditional plaque reduction assay, thus validating a higher throughput alternative for large-scale sample analysis.