Biogen-Idec launches a new assay for JCV antibody detection

If you are on natalizumab or are interested in starting the drug the following poster presented at the ENS meeting in Prague will of interest to you. 


Enhanced ELISA for detection of anti-JC virus antibodies in MSers



Biogen Idec, the company that markets natalizumab, has introduced an improved STRATIFY JCV assay, called STRATIFY DxSelect. This second generation test has an improved ability to detect seropositivity in samples with low levels of anti-JCV antibodies; it should minimises the occurrence of false negative results. It is anticipated that approximately 5-10% of MSers with very low anti-JCV antibody levels who tested negative using first generation STRATIFY JCV test may test positive with STRATIFY DxSelect. As a result, there may be an increase in the number of MSers who had previously tested anti-JCV antibody negative prior to March 2012 now test anti-JCV antibody positive at a rate above what might be expected from the scientific literature. Over time, once MSers have been tested with STRATIFY JCV DxSelect, we expect the rate of MSers changing serostatus to stabilise.


“This may affect a handful of MSers on natalizumab who have already tested negative with the first assay. Please be prepared that if your first test was negative the second may be positive due to the better performance of the assay or you may have been exposed to the virus, and seroconverted, between tests.”

Source: Biogen-Idec

4 thoughts on “Biogen-Idec launches a new assay for JCV antibody detection”

  1. If Biogen developed a JC virus vaccine then seronegative patients could stay on natalizumab permanently

  2. Re: "If Biogen developed a JC virus vaccine then seronegative patients could stay on natalizumab permanently." The problem with a vaccine is that it would convert you to being seropositive! There may be around this by looking for antibody responses to other proteins and differentiating between wild-type infection and vaccination. Biogen-Idec are not a vaccine company. The skill set for vaccine development is different and highly-specialised. I would recommend Biogen-Idec using their stockpile of cash to buy a vaccine company.

    1. A blood test for actual virus PCR), not just antibody to the virus should be done. That would satisfy the issue of infection. In fact currently, there are two problems: 1.) There is a 2.5% false negative rate in JCV infection, so the antibody test does not assure that there is no virus present. 2.) The development of antibodies (seroconversion) span is unknown and may be delayed or prevented in patients with a history of certain prior treatments common to the MS patient.

  3. Is STRATIFY JCV assay also available for measuring JCV antibodies in healthy individuals, or this assay is just available for MS patients?

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