The development of monoclonal antibody and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) techniques has made possible the detection of specific antigens at extremely low concentrations. Diagnosis of recalcitrant diseases such as melioidosis depends upon either early isolation and identification of the causative organism or the identification of a specific marker antigen, exotoxin, in serum; the latter is better because it allows more rapid and simple diagnosis. A method of detecting exotoxin concentrations of > 16 ng/ml by an ELISA based on a monoclonal antitoxin is here described; it is significantly more sensitive than the mouse lethality test (lower threshold 30 μg/ml) currently in use and an in-vitro cytotoxicity test (lower threshold 10 μg/ml) that we have developed and describe here.


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