ELISA Test: Why it’s important to your health and how it works

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ELISA test

Many of us have heard of the ELISA test but, what is it? ELISA stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

This test is used to detect antibodies in your blood as well as measuring them. Using this test determines if there are antibodies in your blood which are related to several infectious diseases and conditions.

Antibodies are produced as a response to negative antigens in the body. The ELISA spot is the rapid response version of the standard ELISA test.

The Sandwich Test and indirect test are also ELISA tests that use unique strategies to test for antibodies in the blood. The ELISA test is used to test for multiple infectious diseases and exposure to viruses Including:

  • Chicken Pox
  • Shingles
  • HIV
  • Lyme Disease
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever

The ELISA test can detect negative antigens related to the above diseases in the blood. If antibodies are detected further testing is completed.

How is the Test Performed?

The ELISA test is simple, straightforward and is minimally painful. A healthcare professional will take a sample of blood to perform the test with an Elisa kit.

After the skin is disinfected a tourniquet will be placed around the arm. This is done to increase pressure to veins and help blood swell so that it can be drawn.

Next, your healthcare professional will place a small needle in the vein and used to draw blood. Once enough blood is collected, the needle is withdrawn and the area is bandaged. The ELISA test is very basic and the process is minimally painful.

ELISA vs. ELISA Spot Test

The ELISA Spot test is used in rapid testing environments as its assay are far more sensitive but should not be confused for the ELISA test itself which is delivered to a lab for results.

The ELISA Spot test is quite different from ELISA itself in that it can detect a wider range of diseases quickly due to its sensitivity to catching antibodies rapidly. The spot test is ideal for testing of diseases in the field or when a lab is not available.

ELISA Test Risks

There are very few risks associated with the ELISA test. Most risks do include some mild bruising at the blood draw site.

There is also the possibility of light headedness and fainting. Infection is a very small risk of the ELISA test. It is important that you tell your doctor if you bruise easily or have hemophilia.

Why is The ELISA Test Important?

The ELISA Test is highly sensitive and highly specific to specific antibodies in the blood. With the ability to test for specifically negative antigens in the body diseases such as cancer and Lyme disease can be detected.

There are multiple ELISA Tests and while each test for specific diseases, the overall findings from this specific test can help doctors understand the reason for their patients’ illness and the progress of their illness.

The ELISA test has been used to detect specific types of cancer in the blood and is also useful to detect illnesses normal lab tests aren’t capable of picking up. The ELISA test is painless, easy and can provide both you and your doctor with many important answers.

Test result return can vary as certain facilities may test in their offices and have a 24-hour turnaround time. If the test has to be sent away for analysis it can be expected the results will take several weeks.

Written by Lorenzo Gutierrez.

Lorenzo Gutierrez is a California native. He graduated from San Jose State University and Western Governors University. He enjoys writing on topics such as biotech, health and technology.

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News source: Bull World Health Organ. The content is edited for length and style purposes.
Figure legend: This Knowridge.com image is credited to Jeffrey M. Vinocur/Wikipedia.