Application of a fast and cost-effective 'three-in-one' MMR ELISA as a tool for surveying anti-MMR humoral immunity: The Hungarian experience

K. Böröcz, Z. Csizmadia, Markovics, N. Farkas, J. Najbauer, T. Berki, P. Németh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In Hungary, between February 2017 and July 2019, 70 confirmed measles cases were reported, raising questions about the adequacy of population-level immunity. Although the assumed vaccination coverage is ≥99%, in a recent study, we detected potential gaps in the anti-measles humoral immunity. In Hungary, according to a decree by the Ministry of Public Welfare, beginning from 2021, the healthcare provider should conduct a serosurvey of anti-measles protection levels of healthcare professionals. To facilitate the compliance with this requirement, we developed a quick 'three-in-one' or 'triple' MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) indirect ELISA (IgG); an assay format that is currently not available commercially. High throughput applicability of the 'three-in-one' ELISA was verified using 1736 sera from routine laboratory residual samples, using an automated platform (Siemens BEP 2000 Advance). Assay verification was performed by comparing the full antigen repertoire-based 'target' assay with in-house 'control' assays using recombinant viral antigen coatings, and by validated commercially available kits. Indirect immunofluorescence was used as an independent reference method. Data were analysed using OriginLab, IBM SPSS, RStudio and MedCalc. In case of measles, we combined our current results with previously published data (Ntotal measles = 3523). Evaluation of anti-mumps and anti-rubella humoral antibody levels was based on the measurement of 1736 samples. The lowest anti-measles seropositivity (79.3%) was detected in sera of individuals vaccinated between 1978 and 1987. Considering the antigen-specific seropositivity ratios of all samples measured, anti-measles, -mumps and -rubella IgG antibody titres were adequate in 89.84%, 91.82% and 92.28%, respectively. Based on the virus-specific herd immunity threshold (HIT) values (HITMeasles = 92-95%, HITMumps = 75-86%, HITRubella = 83-86), it can be stated that regarding anti-measles immunity, certain age clusters of the population may have inadequate levels of humoral immunity. Despite the potential gaps in herd immunity, the use of MMR vaccine remains an effective and low-cost approach for the prevention of measles, mumps and rubella infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020



  • IgG
  • MMR
  • immunity
  • indirect ELISA
  • measles
  • mumps
  • rubella
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious Diseases

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