The ELISA method is a crucial bioanalytical technique in the drug discovery and development process. Moreover, ELISA has several applications, including blood screening, microbiology, immunology, and veterinary sciences. Besides, ELISA assays can be used quantitatively to measure analyte concentrations or qualitatively to detect the presence or absence of an analyte in study matrices. Most ELISA assays run on microplates, where the bottom of the microplate is coated with an antibody. This solid surface acts as a base for antigen binding, directly or through secondary antibodies.
Today there are several alternatives available for bioanalytical analysis. These alternatives include hyphenated techniques such as LC-MS testing and LC-MS/MS analysis. But despite the availability of such advanced approaches, ELISA assays are still the primary tool for research and related fields. Several ELISA labs and ELISA testing services have been the core of the continued development of ELISA assays. However, researchers must ensure a thorough ELISA development and validation for robust and reliable assay results. The current article discusses why ELISA services still focus on these assays for discovery and research purposes.
Why are ELISA assays crucial for research?
Identifying cancer biomarkers early in the diagnosis and prognosis process has been a major challenge for medical sciences. ELISA-based techniques have always been the center for testing cancer biomarkers at the early stages of development.
Besides, in urine samples, ELISA assays can easily detect the presence and concentrations of illicit drugs such as opiates, cannabinoids, amphetamines, cocaine, and methadone in urine samples. Moreover, ELISA can detect drug concentrations in patients undergoing treatment or during drug trials. For example, drugs for inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Today, ELISA assays are the primary point-of-care technique for detecting gonadotropin hormone in urine samples of pregnant women. This technique has provided early access to testing capabilities at home.
ELISA assays can detect platelet antibodies in serum samples from patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Such testing capacities make ELISA assays an ideal tool for researching medical disorders. Besides, due to being a less complex and cost-effective method for platelet antibody detection, ELISA assays are preferred over other tests, such as platelet immunofluorescence and lymphocytotoxicity tests.
Furthermore, ELISA is the primary technique for detecting allergens in the food industry. The sensitivity of ELISA assays is crucial for detecting potential food allergens at lower concentrations. It can also determine substances in oils and milk that are difficult to identify using other techniques, such as PCR.
There are several advantages of using ELISA assays in viral research. ELISA assays are the principal technique used in developing countries to detect infection rates in the patient population. They can rapidly be deployed at different sites and can provide instant results for therapeutic interventions. For example, NDV, an avian virus, can be passed on to humans. Depending on the strain type, NDV can cause diarrhea, respiratory dysfunction, and other life-threatening issues. Researchers often use ELISA assays to detect all strains of NDV within a population. These instant testing applications can further aid in coordinating vaccination drives and other medicinal solutions.