Laboratory diagnosis
Aaron Sabanagic
Streptococcus pyogenes © Jennifer Oosthuizen/CDC/Sarah Bailey Cutchin, public domain

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The development of a reliable, rapid, sensitive and specific laboratory test for the diagnosis of disease is an important goal of medical research. To the traditional techniques such as culture and microscopy, which are linked to the limited growth rate of the micro-organisms, was added the achievement of PCR in 1983.


An early disease-specific laboratory diagnosis plays an increasingly important role in modern medicine. Immunoassays (e.g. ELISA) based on antigen-antibody reactions are traditionally used to detect numerous proteins and antigens. However, these methods have a limited sensitivity, so that there is a risk of false negative results, especially with very small amounts of material to be detected. Immuno-PCR, developed in 1992, uses marker DNA instead of the enzymatic conversion of a substrate. This marker DNA can then be amplified exponentially via PCR. Using Immuno-PCR, a 10–100,000-fold improvement in sensitivity compared to conventional ELISA can be obtained!

Keywords: molecular biology, immunology, laboratory diagnostics, antigen detection, sensitivity



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