1. Explain why antibodies allow scientists to target and identify specific disease agents. The primary antibodies attach to the antigens that have the same receptors and the secondary antibodies do the same with the primary antibodies.
2. Why is the secondary antibody used in an ELISA test conjugated with an enzyme? What happens when this enzyme meets up with its substrate? The enzyme represents the weapon that the secondary antibodies (police) utilize to kill the antigen (foreign object).
3. What does it mean if a disease can be detected in samples from one person at a dilution of 1/5 and in another patient at a dilution of 1/100?
4. Describe a situation that illustrates why it is a good idea to complete the ELISA assay in triplicate.
5. Why do you think college students living in dorms are often populations who see meningitis outbreaks? Most students fail to clean properly their dorm rooms and the same goes to their prior dorm users. This results an outbreak of bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. to spread throughout the campus
6. How did ELISA data allow you to track the path of infection at the college? With the blood sample given from Sue, scientists were able to identify what type of bacteria/virus Sue contains and to determine whether the infection is infectious or not.
7. Discuss the limitations of using antigen concentration to deduce the path of infection. Be sure to refer to the workings of the human immune system.
8. The ELISA test can also be used to detect antibodies that are produced in response to a specific antigen. Using information about how you completed this ELISA experiment, outline a procedure for testing for antibodies in the blood.
9. Explain why in sudden outbreaks, it may be better to test for disease antigens rather than for antibodies. The antibodies are there to help and kill of the antigens, but don’t contain the whole DNA strand. The antigens have the specific DNA strand the scientists are searching for to determine the bacteria/virus.
10. Home pregnancy tests utilize ELISA technology.
When a woman is pregnant, her body produces a hormone call human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Explain how antibodies can be used to detect this hormone and are linked to a color change a woman may see on a positive test. The pregnancy test traps the antigens that are attached to primary and secondary antibodies to the enzyme.