Abstract An ELISA for the determination of IgG antibody to herpes simplex virus (HSV) was developed using a secreted recombinant HSV-1 glycoprotein B (gB-1s) as a solid phase. The clinical validity of the ELISA was established by testing different groups of sera containing HSV-1, HSV-2, or mixed antibody, in parallel with gB-1s ELISA and conventional HSV-1/HSV-2 ELISA. The new gB-1s ELISA detected HSV-1/HSV-2 antibody in sera from 48 subjects with either HSV-1 or HSV-2 past infection as well as in sera from 20 patients with primary infections by either serotype, in complete agreement with the results obtained using conventional ELISA. In 7 patients with HSV-1 encephalitis the kinetics of the gB-1s serum/cerebrospinal fluid antibody-titre ratio paralleled that of conventional ELISA over a period of time of up to 4 years. Acute and convalescent-phase sera from 28 patients with acute infections by human herpesviruses other than HSV did not show a significant cross-reactivity with gB-1s. In conclusion, gB-1s ELISA is a reliable assay for determination of HSV immune status as well as for diagnosis of both primary HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections and for diagnosis of HSV-1 encephalitis.