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Thread: ELISA vs Coombs uses

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    ELISA vs Coombs uses

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    ...we don't really do this often on the forum, but can anyone explain the difference in their use?

    Just so I have things straight, they can both test for antibodies, right? ELISA will use a color indicator marked to the added antibody (well, an enzyme attached to the antibody that makes the color change when it binds substrate) while Coombs uses the agglutination of antibodies to show a positive result. So is the only functional difference that Coombs cannot test for antigen while ELISA can do both antigen or antibody (depending on what type of elisa)? Please correct me if I'm wrong anywhere.

    So if I want to detect an antibody in a patient which one would I use?

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    dreileen is offline Member 515 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlReagan View Post
    ...we don't really do this often on the forum, but can anyone explain the difference in their use?

    Just so I have things straight, they can both test for antibodies, right? ELISA will use a color indicator marked to the added antibody (well, an enzyme attached to the antibody that makes the color change when it binds substrate) while Coombs uses the agglutination of antibodies to show a positive result. So is the only functional difference that Coombs cannot test for antigen while ELISA can do both antigen or antibody (depending on what type of elisa)? Please correct me if I'm wrong anywhere.

    So if I want to detect an antibody in a patient which one would I use?
    The answer is direct versus indirect. ELISA can be either and so can Coombs. ELISA is a testing method. Coombs is a specific test which happens to be an ELISA.

    Direct - detection of antigen (for example, you see a fire - a direct measurement for the presence of fire (antigen))
    Indirect - detection of antibody (for example, you see smoke - an indirect measurement for the presence (or previous presence) of fire (where there is smoke (antibody), there must be fire)

    It's an analogy, but it has helped me keep them straight. Hope that helps.
    Last edited by dreileen; 08-30-2012 at 08:59 PM.
    AUCMD2013 and OlReagan like this.

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