The Role of NS1 Protein in the Diagnosis of Flavivirus Infections

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8 Scopus citations


Nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) is a glycoprotein among the flavivirus genus. It is found in both membrane-associated and soluble secreted forms, has an essential role in viral replication, and modulates the host immune response. NS1 is secreted from infected cells within hours after viral infection, and thus immunodetection of NS1 can be used for early serum diagnosis of dengue fever infections instead of real-time (RT)-PCR. This method is fast, simple, and affordable, and its availability could provide an easy point-of-care testing solution for developing countries. Early studies show that detecting NS1 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples is possible and can improve the surveillance of patients with dengue-associated neurological diseases. NS1 can be detected postmortem in tissue specimens. It can also be identified using noninvasive methods in urine, saliva, and dried blood spots, extending the availability and effective detection period. Recently, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) assay for detecting antibodies directed against Zika virus NS1 has been developed and used for diagnosing Zika infection. This NS1-based assay was significantly more specific than envelope protein-based assays, suggesting that similar assays might be more specific for other flaviviruses as well. This review summarizes the knowledge on flaviviruses’ NS1′s potential role in antigen and antibody diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number572
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • NS1 antibodies
  • NS1 antigen
  • West Nile virus
  • Zika virus
  • dengue virus


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