Antibodies against viral nucleo-, phospho- and X protein contribute to serological diagnosis of fatal Borna disease virus 1 (BoDV-1) infections

Published: 13 December 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/wpvkdhmgz4.1
Bernhard Neumann,
Klemens Angstwurm,
Ralf A. Linker,
Gertrud Knoll,
Lisa Eidenschink,
Dennis Rubbenstroth,
Kore Schlottau,
Martin Beer,
Patrick Schreiner,
Erwin Soutschek,
Merle M. Böhmer,
Benedikt M. J. Lampl,
Matthias Pregler,
Alexander Scheiter,
Katja Evert,
Saida Zoubaa,
Markus J. Riemenschneider,
Benedikt Asbach,
André Gessner,
Hans Helmut Niller,
Barbara Schmidt,
Markus Bauswein


Borna disease virus 1 (BoDV-1) can cause rare but fatal encephalitis in humans, often diagnosed too late for an experimental therapeutic approach. In a recent case of fatal BoDV-1 infection, BoDV-1 RNA was detected in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) on day 12 after hospital admission. Seroconversion in this and seven previous cases was confirmed using a newly developed ELISA with recombinant BoDV-1 nucleoprotein, phosphoprotein and accessory protein X. For each recombinant BoDV-1 protein, an individual cut-off was determined by 24 negative sera. To assess the specificity of the ELISA, we took advantage of an independent cohort of 56 patients with suspected tick-borne encephalitis, whose serum/plasma samples were screened for BoDV-1 IgG antibodies for diagnostic purposes. Corresponding CSF samples of all patients were tested negative for BoDV-1 by RT-qPCR. Our findings demonstrate that early detection of BoDV-1 RNA in CSF and the presence of antibodies against at least two different viral antigens contribute to BoDV-1 diagnosis. Physicians in endemic regions should consider BoDV-1 infection in unclear encephalopathy, even with normal CSF leucocyte counts, and initiate appropriate diagnostics at an early stage.



Universitatsklinikum Regensburg, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut Bundesforschungsinstitut fur Tiergesundheit


Health Sciences, Clinical Virology, Borna Disease Virus