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Calculation of the ELISA’s cut-off based on the change-point analysis method for detection of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in Bolivian dogs in the absence of controls.

In ELISAs, sera of individuals infected by Trypanosoma cruzi show absorbance values above a cut-off value. The cut-off is generally computed by means of formulas that need absorbance readings of negative (and sometimes positive) controls, which are included in the titer plates amongst the unknown samples.

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When no controls are available, other techniques should be employed such as change-point analysis. The method was applied to Bolivian dog sera processed by ELISA to diagnose T. cruzi infection.

In each titer plate, the change-point analysis estimated a step point which correctly discriminated among known positive and known negative sera, unlike some of the six usual cut-off formulas tested. To analyse the ELISAs results, the change-point method was as good as the usual cut-off formula of the form “mean + 3 standard deviation of negative controls”.