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Section 4: ELISA Results

ELISA, short for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, is a commonly used laboratory test that measures the amounts of an analyte within a solution. In most cases, the analyte is usually an antigen or an antibody. The basic ELISA test is different from other anti-body based assays due to their separation of specific and non-specific interactions that occur with serial binding to a polystyrene multi-well plate, or another solid surface type.

The ELISA assay was created in the 1970s and replaces radioimmunoassays. The benefits of ELISA include that it is relatively easy to perform and they can be performed with large samples in parallel. Because of these benefits, ELISA is widely used by researchers and for diagnostic targets. The original form of ELISAs is still being used today. However, there are expanded and modified forms that can involve several analytes per well, direct cell-based output, and highly sensitive readouts.

ELISA tests are based upon the specific interaction between a sequence of amino acids found on an antigen and an antibody binding site that matches. The antibodies utilized for an ELISA test can be monoclonal or polyclonal.

ELISA results yield three different types of data:
• Quantitative: With quantitative data, the results are interpreted by comparing them to a standard curve, which allows the concentrations of antigens in different samples to be precisely determined.
• Qualitative: Qualitative data either confirms or denies whether the presence of a particular antigen is in a sample. This data is a yes or a no answer and is used in comparison to a blank well that does not contain an unrelated control antigen or any other antigen.
• Semi-quantitative: The intensity of a signal can differ directly based on antigen concentration. ELISA data can be used to compare the relative levels of antigens within an assay sample.

Usually, data from ELISA assays are graphed using optical density vs. log concentration. This will reveal a sigmoidal curve. Any known concentrations of antigen are utilized to give the standard curve on the graph. Then, that data can be used to measure the concentration of the unknown samples when compared to the linear portion of the standard curve. Graphing can be accomplished on paper or with curve fitting software that can usually be found on ELISA plate readers.
Typical data and standard curve of an ELISA Kit
• Typical data and standard curve of an ELISA Kit
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Introduction Section 1 Section 2
rightarrow An Introduction to ELISA
    - Brief introduction to basic procedures, different types of ELISA tests...
rightarrow Overview Of The Basic ELISA Procedure
    - ELISA procedures, features, benefits, improvements...
rightarrow Understanding The ELISA Assay Types
    - ELISA's advantages, Direct, Sandwich, Competitive ELISA...
↢ Section 3 - Section 4 - Section 5 ↣
rightarrow Defining ELISA Detection Options
    - The two ELISA detection options: Direct and Indirect...
rightarrow ELISA Results
    - Testing Data: Quantitative, Qualitative, Semi-quantitative...
rightarrow Information On ELISA And ELISA Sensitivity
    - ELISA: The most sensitive immunoassays available...

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