Immunoassays are among the most frequently performed tests in the laboratory and clinic. In past, cultures and serology were used for diagnosing infectious diseases. However, cultures take time to recover the virus or bacterium causing the infection. Moreover, certain microorganisms do not permit culturing in the laboratory. These issues have led to the development of rapid diagnostic tests such as immunoassays.
Immunoassays provide qualitative and quantitative measurements of antigens or antibodies, which help determine infections in patients or their immunological reaction to infection or immunization. Today, immunoassays play an increasingly important role in research and in clinical medicine, guiding diagnostic and therapeutic decisions. Immunoassay kits are available that assure diagnostic test methods for TORCH, autoimmune panels, infectious disease markers, and much more. The advantage of these kits is that they are easy to perform and interpret, and do not require specialized equipment. This enhances their usefulness in diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making.
For instance, take the TORCH IgM test panel and TORCH IgG test panel. These are rapid lateral flow tests or immunochromatographic assays that allow the qualitative detection of the IgM and IgG antibodies to viruses such as Toxoplasmosis (TOXO), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Rubella Virus (RV), Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2.Early diagnosis of TORCH infection is critical to avoid the symptoms and lesions. TORCH IgG test and ToRCH IgM test are now widely requested by clinicians investigating infants and pregnant women for different types of infections in blood, urine, and spinal fluid.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information provides clear instructions on designing and running robust, automation friendly immunoassays. Among many other things, NCBI stresses that reagents are a critical in the assay development process and that the following factors need to be considered when obtaining reagents:
- Quality of standards and antibodies
- Quantity of standards and antibodies
- Purity of standards and antibodies (when possible antibodies are affinity purified)
- Demonstrated selectivity and specificity of antibodies
Today, manufacturers such as Awareness Technologies Inc., offer immunoassay kits that ensure reliable, high performance, user-friendly, and cost effective diagnostic test methods. ReQuest® Immunoassay kits provide excellent sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, and precision, meeting the productivity needs of a wide range of laboratories and helping them stay competitive. These kits are for use on the company’s ChemWell® automated analyzer and with their Stat Fax® and ChroMate® microplate readers.