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An ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test is effective in detecting and measuring antibodies present in your blood. This test is essential to determine if your blood contains antibodies relating to specific infectious conditions.  In this context, you must understand that antibodies are actually proteins which are produced by your body as a response to certain harmful substances known as antigens.

As ELISA tests could be performed for the evaluation of the presence of either antigens or antibodies in a blood sample. It is an effective tool for determining exact serum antibody concentrations like with the HIV ELISA tests. It is believed that the HIV ELISA test is generally the very first test for detecting the HIV virus infection. If HIV virus antibodies are positive or present, it is quite usual for the test to be repeated for confirming the diagnosis.

If the ELISA test result is negative, you would not need to do any other tests. There are very few probabilities of getting a false report post the first few weeks of having HIV infection. The high sensitivity and the specificity of the ELISA Test make it really widely accepted. ELISA is known to be quite adept at identifying all probabilities of HIV infections.

Usage of ELISA Test

An ELISA test could be performed for diagnosing:

  • HIV that is known to cause AIDS.
  • Pernicious Anemia.
  • Lyme disease.
  • RMSF or Rocky Mountain Spotted-Fever
  • Syphilis
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Varicella-Zoster Virus, that causes Shingles and Chicken Pox
  • Toxoplasmosis

ELISA is used quite often as a screening device before asking for some more in-depth tests. A doctor would be suggesting ELISA test if you are having some symptoms and signs of the above conditions or if your doctor wishes to rule out the incidence of any of the conditions mentioned above.

The Procedure

The ELISA test is pretty straightforward and simple. The doctor would be explaining to you why he is advising this test and then you would be requiring signing on the consent form. This test involves taking your blood sample. This procedure is painless but some people would be experiencing a slight throbbing on the arm once the procedure is over. The collected blood sample would then be sent to the diagnostic lab for proper analysis.

In the laboratory, the lab technician would be adding the blood sample to an antigen that is associated with the medical condition for which you seem to be undergoing the test. If your blood is found to contain antibodies to any specific antigen, the two would automatically bind together.

The technician would be checking this simply by putting an enzyme on the Petri dish and keep an eye on the way your blood would be reacting with the antigen and vice versa. It could be confirmed that you are suffering from the clinical condition provided there is a distinct change in color in the contents of the Petri dish. The degree to which the enzyme triggers the color change would be able to successfully determine the presence, as well as, the amount of the antibody.

Preparation for the Test

You would not be requiring any special preparations for carrying out the ELISA test in future. The blood draw would be lasting only for a few seconds. It could be slightly uncomfortable. You must inform your healthcare provider well in advance if you are allergic to the sight of needles or blood. Some people faint or feel lightheaded at the sight of an injection syringe or blood. You must also inform your doctor if you suffer from some sort of a bleeding disorder like hemophilia.

Risk Factors

There are only a few risks associated with ELISA test. The rare risk factors could include:

  • Feeling like fainting
  • Infection
  • Bruising
  • Bleeding slightly more than usual.

Exactly how the test reports are presented to you depend on the lab which has been conducting the analysis.  It also depends mostly on the precise condition for which the test is being done. Your doctor is the best person to discuss the results of your test. In some cases, a positive result would mean you do not actually have the condition. So results could be tricky to understand. Hence, consult your physician.

Author Bio: Melissa Smith is an experienced medical laboratory technician. She has recently taken to blogging. Her in-depth knowledge in the field of medicine and diagnostics is very much evident in her informative posts about OTUD4 Antibody. Of late, she has been involved in handling ELISA tests.

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