The reactions of polioviruses in single-radial-immunodiffusion (SRD) tests were investigated with a view to developing accurate and sensitive antigen assay systems. In direct SRD tests, employing high concentrations of immune poliovirus serum in agarose gels, poliovirus D-antigens produced clear reaction zones demonstrated by protein staining. The reactions were type-specific for polioviruses of types 1, 2 and 3 but the tests were of low sensitivity, being applicable only to the assay of virus concentrates.

A novel autoradiographic zone size enhancement (ZE) test was developed which increased the sensitivity of the SRD assay 40- to 100-fold. The ZE test was dependent upon the ability of unlabelled poliovirus to co-migrate with the radioactive marker virus and so enhance the zone size detected autoradiographically. The areas of the autoradiographic zones were directly proportional to the concentration of unlabelled antigen. The ZE test was capable of detecting poliovirus D antigens in diluted cell culture fluid harvests in amounts corresponding to 10 to 10 TCID of infectious virus.

Studies with poliovirus type 3 strains indicated that the ZE test was narrowly strain-specific for the D-antigen of poliovirus type 3 strains when homologous type 3 D-antigen was used as radioactive marker, but broadly cross-reactive for the D-antigen of type 3 viruses when heterologous poliovirus type 3 D-antigen was used as marker.


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