Enzyme immunoassays for the detection of infectious antigens in body fluids: Current limitations and future prospects

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116 Scopus citations


Enzyme immunoassays are attaining increased usage for the direct detection of microbial antigens in body fluids. Advantages of enzyme immunoassays include a high degree of sensitivity resulting from the inherent magnification of the enzyme-substrate reaction and the use of objective end points without the need for radioactivity. Enzyme immunoassays have been developed for the reliable detection of several important microbial antigens in body fluids, including antigens of rotavirus, hepatitis B virus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b. However, standard enzyme immunoassay techniques are not sufficiently sensitive for the measurement of some antigens from other viruses, bacteria, and parasites in concentrations that commonly occur in body fluids during the course of infectious diseases. This review examines some of the limitations of currently available enzyme immunoassay technology and discusses approaches to increasing the sensitivity and specificity of enzyme immunoassay systems. Methods for improving these assay systems include the use of monoclonal antibodies, improved methods of enzyme-immunoreactant conjugation, more sensitive substrate systems, improved methods of antigen-antibody access, and the direct measurement of microbial enzymes. The use of such techniques should lead to the development of efficient enzyme immunoassay systems for the direct detection of a wide range of bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-68
Number of pages34
JournalReviews of infectious diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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