A competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) was developed for detection of turkey coronavirus (TCV) antibodies. The cELISA utilized a recombinant baculovirus (Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus)-expressed TCV nucleocapsid (N) protein and biotin-labeled TCV N protein-specific monoclonal antibody. Sensitivity and specificity of the cELISA for detection of TCV antibodies were determined by comparison with the indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) with 1269 reference, experimentally derived, and field-origin sera. Sera with discordant cELISA and IFAT results were further evaluated by western immunoblot analyses.
The cELISA detected antibodies specific for TCV and infectious bronchitis virus, a closely related coronavirus, but did not detect antibodies specific for other avian viruses. A high degree of concordance was observed between the cELISA and IFAT; sensitivity and specificity of the cELISA relative to IFAT were 92.9% and 96.2%, respectively. Western immunoblot analyses provided additional evidence of cELISA specificity. The findings indicate that the cELISA is a rapid, sensitive, and specific serologic test for detection of TCV antibodies in turkeys.