Immunological Detection and Characterization

  • Robert L. Atmar


Immunological methods have been used for viral diagnosis for more than 100 years. Although molecular methods are replacing many older methods of viral diagnosis, there is still a significant role for immunological methods to guide patient care and in the performance of epidemiologic studies. Identification of viral antigens in clinical samples can be accomplished rapidly through the use of point-of-care lateral immunoassays or through the use of more traditional immunofluorescence and enzyme immunoassays in the virology laboratory. Serological assays are also a valuable tool for the clinician and epidemiologist. Many of the available diagnostic assays have enzyme immunoassay formats, but functional assays such as hemagglutination-inhibition and neutralizing antibody tests are also available. In some instances, virus infection can be diagnosed with a single serum sample (e.g., HIV and hepatitis C virus infections) while in other instances paired sera are needed (e.g., those caused by common respiratory viruses). Point-of-care antibody assays are also available for testing blood and saliva samples for some viruses. An understanding of the principles of immunological detection methods is important in the application and interpretation of test results.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus Viral Antigen Viral Pathogen Hemagglutination Inhibition Antigen Detection 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Medicine and Molecular Virology and MicrobiologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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