Viruses. 2022 Dec 31;15(1):129. doi: 10.3390/v15010129.
Initial diagnosis of human T cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) infections is mainly based by detecting antibodies in plasma or serum using laboratory-based methods. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a rapid screening test for HTLV-I antibodies. Our rapid screening test uses HTLV-I p24 antigen conjugated to gold nanoparticles and an anti-human IgG antibody immobilized to a nitrocellulose strip to detect human HTLV-I p24-specific IgG antibodies via immunochromatography. Performance of the rapid screening test for HTLV-I was conducted on a total of 118 serum specimens collected in Salvador, Bahia, the epicenter for HTLV-1 infection in Brazil. Using a Western blot test as the comparator, 55 serum specimens were HTLV-I positive, 5 were HTLV-I and HTLV-II positive, and 58 were negative. The sensitivity of the rapid screening test for HTLV-1 was 96.7% and the specificity was 100%. The rapid screening test did not show cross-reaction with serum specimens from individuals with potentially interfering infections including those caused by HTLV-II, HIV-I, HIV-II, hepatitis A virus, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, herpes simplex virus, Epstein-Barr virus, SARS-CoV-2, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Treponema pallidum, Toxoplasma gondii, and Plasmodium falciparum. The rapid screening test also did not show cross-reaction with potentially interfering substances. Strategies for HTLV diagnosis in non- and high-endemic areas can be improved with low-cost, rapid screening tests.