Diagnosing arthropod-borne flaviviruses: non-structural protein 1 (NS1) as a biomarker

Martina Ceconi, Kevin K Ariën, Peter Delputte

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In recent decades, the presence of flaviviruses of concern for human health in Europe has drastically increased,exacerbated by the effects of climate change - which has allowed the vectors of these viruses to expand into new territories. Co-circulation of West Nile virus (WNV), Usutu virus (USUV), and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) represents a threat to the European continent, and this is further complicated by the difficulty of obtaining an early and discriminating diagnosis of infection. Moreover, the possibility of introducing non-endemic pathogens, such as Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), further complicates accurate diagnosis. Current flavivirus diagnosis is based mainly on RT-PCR and detection of virus-specific antibodies. Yet, both techniques suffer from limitations, and the development of new assays that can provide an early, rapid, low-cost, and discriminating diagnosis of viral infection is warranted. In the pursuit of ideal diagnostic assays, flavivirus non-structural protein 1 (NS1) serves as an excellent target for developing diagnostic assays based on both the antigen itself and the antibodies produced against it. This review describes the potential of such NS1-based diagnostic methods, focusing on the application of flaviviruses that co-circulate in Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2338
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Number of pages19
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


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