The interference of IgM-class rheumatoid factor (RF) in the solid-phase radioimmunoassay (RIA) of rubella virus IgM antibodies was studied. Acute rubella infections did not significantly activate RF. False-positive rubella antibody results were obtained, however, when patients with raised RF levels were tested. If a low rubella IgG antibody titre was present, a high level of RF was required to cause a false-positive IgM result; conversely, in sera with high IgG titres, only a low level of RF was required for interference. Although the false-positive IgM titres obtained were generally low, thet did show a positive correlation to both RF levels and rubella IgG titres. False-positive results were successfully avoided by removing the RF by absorption with heat-aggregated human gamma globulin. The absorption procedure did not affect true rubella IgM antibody titres.
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