The preliminary results of a solid-phase enzyme-immunoassay (EIA) for the detection of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) are presented. This method has been compared with the solid-phase radioimmunoassay (RIA) for HBsAg in dilution series of four HBsAg positive sera four national reference panels (The Laboratory Panel of the Central Laboratory of the Blood Transfusion Service of the Netherlands Red Cross, USA BOB Reference Panels Nos 2 and 3, and the 1st Panel of the National Reference Centre for virus Hepatitis at the Institute of Hygiene of the University of Göttingen, West Germany). In addition, the two test methods were compared in a weekly (up to 16 weeks) follow-up of 14 patients with acute viral hepatitis B. It was seen that, both by reading EIA test results with the naked eye and by colorimetric reading, the sensitivity and specificity of this test method compared very favourably with those of the RIA. EIA may have a slightly lower sensitivity than RIA for the subtype ad, while its sensitivity for the subtype ay may be slightly higher than that of RIA. These minor sensitivity differences may be due to the specificity profiles of the antisera used.
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