What is the role of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) in the workup of Mycoplasma infections (Mycoplasma pneumoniae)?

Updated: Feb 15, 2019
  • Author: Ken B Waites, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

One of the most significant advances in recent years for the diagnosis of M pneumoniae respiratory tract infections is the development of qualitative, rapid, single-specimen, membrane-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays that are readily adaptable to the primary care physician's office laboratory. [15]

The Remel IgG/IgM Antibody Test System (Thermo-Fisher) measures both IgG and IgM simultaneously.

The Meridian ImmunoCard (Meridian Bioscience, Inc.) measures only IgM.

Physicians can perform both tests without special expertise or equipment, and they can interpret the results in approximately 10 minutes, eliminating the need for collection of paired sera for later antibody measurement, although erroneous results are sometimes obtained when only single serum samples are analyzed. [15, 16]

Both tests have a moderate complexity classification under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA), allowing many physicians to offer serologic assays for M pneumoniae antibodies as a point-of-care test so that it can be used to direct patient management.

Such single-specimen assays have limitations as described above; perhaps the most practical use for the IgM ImmunoCard is when an acute infection with M pneumoniae is suspected in children and young adults.


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