What is a serological test?
A serological test is used diagnostically to identify antibodies in a sample of blood serum or other bodily fluid. As antibodies are raised as part of the immune response, the presence of an antibody specific for an infectious agent, (e.g. micro-organism or virion) indicates that the patient has (or has had) the infection. Other purposes of serological tests include diagnosis of autoimmune diseases or blood typing.
How does a serological test work?
The principle method of a serological test is that the infectious agent is attached to a sample well or other surface, either directly or via a capture antibody. The sample is introduced and if present, antibodies will bind to the infectious agent. Unbound material is washed away, and any bound antibodies are detected with a secondary antibody conjugated to a reporter molecule.