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Image of ELISA reaction and microplate for article on COVID testing.
Published On: June 22nd, 2021

Can I Afford a Laboratory Automation System?

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is one of the most common testing methods for detecting antibodies to several proteins from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the pathogen responsible for COVID-19. The spike protein (S) is found on the virus’s surface and allows the virus to enter host cells. The nucleocapsid protein (N) is found with the RNA in the center of the viral particle. Immunoglobulins M and G (IgM and IgG) bind to the N and S proteins, and these complexes (e.g., N-IgM or S-IgG) can be measured using ELISA.

Read on to see how an automated ELISA system, and ELISA plate washer, can make the ELISA lab test for COVID-19 testing quicker, less expensive, easier, and more reliable.

Direct ELISA Testing

In the Direct ELISA lab test, the capture antibody with a label is bound to the wells of the microplate. Next, the antigen that will recognize and attach to the capture antibody is added. This binding event releases the biotinylated enzyme that changes color and can be detected. By measuring the intensity of the color, one can determine the target antibody’s quantity and concentration.

Indirect ELISA Testing

In Indirect ELISA, there are additional steps that add time to the testing process. However, this process has greater sensitivity, lower cost, and greater flexibility than Direct ELISA. The primary difference is using two antibodies – one to bind the antigen of interest, and the second antibody that releases the label once interferences are washed away, reducing noise and increasing the sensitivity of the assay.

Sandwich ELISA Testing

Sandwich ELISA has even greater specificity, sensitivity, and flexibility, but it is more difficult to optimize than the Direct or Indirect methods, as three antibodies are used, including a set of two antibodies for detection. The addition of a third antibody adds complexity and cost, but can be more sensitive than the other ELISA methods.

ELISA versus Biacore for Bioanalytical Assays

In a 2009 study comparing the ELISA lab test, using an automated ELISA system with an ELISA plate washer and an automated microplate reader, compared to a Biacore system analysis, shows a clear result. As the authors’ state, “the ELISA performed faithfully to the assay validation at the source lab, the Biacore assays at the transfer labs had a consistent bias.”1

Maximize Your Productivity with an Automated ELISA System: The ELISA Plate Washer and Microplate Reader

Given the precision that can be achieved with automation, an ELISA plate washer is an indispensable tool when one considers the number of times samples need to be washed with various bioactive and cleansing substances during a single ELISA protocol. It not only saves time and money, but an ELISA plate washer dramatically improves the precision necessary during each of these washes to ensure accurate and reproducible results.

A microplate reader is likewise a vital part of any quality laboratory performing ELISAs. While working in microplate formats, a plate reader is the only viable means of detection.  Automating with an ELISA plate washer and microplate reader will ensure your ELISA lab tests are precise and accurate every single time. Long-term savings offset the upfront costs.
Contact Hudson Robotics today to request a consultation or learn more about our host of products to assist you with an automated ELISA system for all of your ELISA lab tests.

Learn just what an ELISA plate washer and microplate reader can do for COVID-19 testing and a host of other laboratory projects. Discover how we can help you with a host of automation options to meet all of your laboratory needs.

1. Tatarewicz S., Moxness M., Weeraratne D., Zhou L., Hale M., Swanson S.J., & Chirmule N. (2009). A step-wise approach for transfer of immunogenicity assays during clinical drug development. AAPS J 11(3):526 at 533.