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CDC updates recommendation for serologic Lyme disease detection



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its recommendation for serologic detection of Lyme disease, according to CDC investigators.

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At the 1994 Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease, several groups and organizations convened, recommending a two-test methodology for Lyme disease detection. First, an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or immunofluorescence assay should be used, followed by a western immunoblot assay for specimens yielding positive or equivocal results. The guideline advised that all future tests should be evaluated against a challenge panel, and that new assays should only move forward if their specificity, sensitivity, and precision equaled or surpassed the performance of tests used in the recommended two-test procedure.

On July 29, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved several Lyme disease serologic assays with new indications for use based on a modified two-test methodology, with a second EIA replacing the western immunoblot assay.

“Clearance by FDA of the new Lyme disease assays indicates that test performance has been evaluated and is ‘substantially equivalent to or better than’ a legally marketed predicate test,” the CDC investigators noted (MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019 Aug 15;68(32):703).

The recommendation advises that FDA-cleared “serologic assays that utilize EIA rather than western immunoblot assay in a two-test format are acceptable alternatives for the laboratory diagnosis of Lyme disease.”

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