ELISA HTLV retrovirus antibody reactivity associated with malaria and immune complexes in healthy Africans

RJ Biggar, PL Gigase, M Melbye, L Kestens, PS Sarin, AJ Bodner, P Demedts, WJ Stevens, L Paluku, C Delacollette, WA Blattner

Research output: Contribution to journalA2: International peer reviewed article (not A1-type)


A serological survey of 250 outpatients in rural Zaire showed that the prevalence of antibody against HTLV-I, HTLV-II, and HTLV-III, as detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, correlated strongly with level of antibodies against Plasmodium falciparum. The age curve for the prevalence of antibody against these retroviruses and high titres of antibodies against P falciparum were similar. Tests with control sera obtained from HTLV-III seropositive homosexual men and American subjects repeatedly infected with malaria who had high antibody titres against P falciparum indicated that there was no cross-reactivity between P falciparum and these retroviruses. Immune-complex levels, but not IgG, IgM, or IgE levels, also correlated strongly with seropositivity in the ELISA HTLV-I and HTLV-III assay, although immune-complex-positive control samples were negative. Possible explanations include coincidental distribution paralleling malaria; similar mode of transmission; virus activation and/or enhanced antibody production due to the effect of malaria on the immune system; and false-positive reactivity in the ELISA assay due to cross-reactive antibodies or other unknown factors
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-523
Publication statusPublished - 1985


  • B780-tropical-medicine
  • Antibodies
  • Antigen antibody complex
  • Analysis
  • HTLV viruses
  • Immunology
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Malaria
  • Protozoal diseases
  • Kaposi sarcoma
  • Sarcoma
  • Cancer
  • Congo-Kinshasa
  • Africa-Central


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