J ust exactly what is an ELISA test kit and why should you care? ELISA stands for Enzyme Linked Immunosobent Assay, and it is a test that looks for a specific antigen or antibody (both are proteins) in a particular sample, usually liquid or wet. So it's a diagnostic tool that can find the smallest, tiniest bit of a certain protein in order to tell whether or not you have a disease, condition, or allergen problem, depending on the test you're using. There are quite a few different tests available, some for home use, while others only for medical and industrial personnel. Let's take a look at the broad spectrum of tests that are commonly used.
There Is An ELISA Pregnancy Test Kit
We've all heard of the home pregnancy tests that you can buy without a prescription at the local pharmacy. These tests are specially designed to detect a small amount of the antigen hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin in the blood or urine. This protein, hCG, is produced immediately when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the woman's uterus, then circulates in the blood, is extracted into the urine by the kidneys, then detected by the test. The attachment of the egg to the uterus typically happens about 6 days after fertilization occurs, then the amount of hCG rises rapidly and exponentially thereafter.
HIV ELISA Tests Were Highly Sensitive
The first and most sensitive test for HIV was an ELISA test, and could detect the virus even though the serum was diluted up to 400 times. Originally it was a two step test that required application of a primary antigen, followed by a wash, then a secondary antibody was applied to test for the proteins of the virus. Most tests have now been simplified into a one step process but still use the ELISA protocol. Read here about Assay Kit .
The West Nile Virus Can Be Detected With An ELISA Test
The ELISA test for the West Nile Virus is designed to detect an IgM antibody in the blood serum. It must be done between 8 and 21 days after the initial onset of the symptoms to be most effective. It is a simple test and has results that are 95% accurate when administered by health professionals. When administered out of the optimum testing window it is still possible to get accurate results by performing two tests, two weeks apart as well.
The Food Allergy Problem Is Huge And They Use ELISA Testing Too
Starting in the year 2005 the FDA has required all food manufacturers to label their products with the amounts of eight different common food allergens so that those who are allergic will know in advance what is in every food item. These allergens are eggs, milk, fish, shellfish, peanuts, wheat, tree nuts, and soybeans because they represent about 90% of all food allergies. ELISA tests are used to check for all of these in the final products because they are highly accurate and easy to perform
ELISA testing is only just getting started in the new age of biochemical testing. There are many more tests coming on to the market now and in the future to test for everything from diseases, hormones, to food particles in every industry, lab or at home.