Merck
HomeSingle Molecule Counting (SMC®) TechnologyThe Power of High Sensitivity Immunoassays in Immunology Research

The Power of High Sensitivity Immunoassays in Immunology Research

Immunology research encompasses many types of studies, including immuno-oncology, autoimmunity, and viral research areas. Immunoassays are vital to this research to detect biomarkers such as interferons, interleukins, immunoglobulins, and more. Learn how high sensitivity immunoassays, like Single Molecule Counting (SMC®) high sensitivity immunoassay kits, can be used to enhance the power of your immunology studies.

Why Is Sensitivity Important in Immunoassays for Immunology Research?

Immunoassays play a critical role in researching the immune system because they help analyze biomarkers like interferons, interleukins, immunoglobulins, and other cytokines/chemokines. The sensitivity of immunoassays is important in immunology research because higher sensitivity allows researchers to thoroughly characterize biomarkers of interest. With this capability, they can dive deeper into immune pathways and gain a better understanding of immune mechanisms.

SMC® High Sensitivity Immunoassays

Harness the power of Single Molecule Counting (SMC®) high sensitivity immunoassay kits to analyze immune biomarkers on a deeper level. These assays can be combined with sub-picogram sensitivity and a user-friendly experience on the SMCxPRO® ultrasensitive immunoassay platform to detect low-level biomarkers. See how SMC® kits can be used in immunology research with the example data below.

Interferon Studies

Interferons are signaling proteins involved in mediating protective immune effector functions. While the antiviral immune function of Type I interferons such as IFN-α2 and IFN-β1 make them candidate therapies for infectious diseases, the ability of the Type II IFN-γ to function in both adaptive and innate immunity led to its utility in oncology and autoimmunity.

The high sensitivity of SMC® kits enhances applications in both basic immunology research as well as clinical studies, including topics such as acute infection and pharmacokinetic profiling of interferon-based therapies. These kits are available for analyzing IFN-α2, IFN-β1, IFN-γ. Figure 1 shows the endogenous range of these kits, while Table 1 details the assay performance.

Graph showing the endogenous range of interferons. Normal human plasma samples were analyzed using the SMC® High Sensitivity Immunoassay Kits for IFN-α2 (blue data points), IFN-β1 (pink data points), and IFN-γ (cyan data points). Different sets of five samples per assay were analyzed using each assay.

.Figure 1.Normal human plasma samples were analyzed using the SMC® High Sensitivity Immunoassay Kits for IFN-α2 (blue data points), IFN-β1 (pink data points), and IFN-γ (cyan data points). Different sets of five samples per assay were analyzed using each assay.

Table 1. Assay performance for the SMC® IFN-α2, IFN-β1, and IFN-γ High Sensitivity Immunoassay Kits.

Interleukin Studies

Profiling interleukins is key to understanding immune responses. For example, human interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a signaling cytokine that is primarily produced by activated CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, and functions in activation and regulation of antigen-specific adaptive immune response. With functions impacting T-cell differentiation into memory and regulatory cells, IL-2 has been a molecule of interest in translational disease research for decades, with applications in oncology and autoimmunity research.

The SMC® Human IL-2 High Sensitivity Immunoassay Kit combines the following features to enable researchers to thoroughly characterize IL-2 in pharmacological and clinical research more effectively than ever before:

  • Improved assay sensitivity
  • Greater standard curve range
  • Thorough in-house verification
  • Streamlined assay protocol

COVID-19 Studies

Viral research, such as SARS-CoV-2 studies, helps evaluate emerging vaccines, characterize new viral variants, and further bolster our understanding of viruses. Immunoassay-based serology techniques play key roles in many SARS-CoV-2 research programs due to their ability to identify and characterize the immune response of individuals already infected by the virus through analysis of biomarkers such as immunoglobulins (Ig). However, the limited sensitivity and resolution offered by traditional assay platforms and their serology assays can leave unanswered crucial research questions.

The unparalleled sensitivity and resolution of the SMC® SARS-CoV-2 RBD IgG kit can improve the value of data generated from crucial COVID-19 related vaccine development, epidemiology, and surveillance studies. This ultrasensitive immunoassay technology can be harnessed for the development of new products to address research needs including identifying low-level SARS-CoV-2 mediated antibody response and resolving subtle differences in humoral immunity among individuals. This kit can be used by researchers to accurately understand the extent of SARS-CoV-2 infection in society, thoroughly profile immune responses after vaccine challenge, and understand heterogeneous responses to infection among individuals and subpopulations.

SMC® SARS-CoV-2 RBD IgG Kit Characteristics:

  • Developed for the user-friendly SMCxPRO® ultrasensitive immunoassay system
  • Qualitative assay; for Research Use Only (RUO)
  • Enables detection of low-level IgG host response against Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein
  • Able to detect antibodies in 2 μL of human serum or plasma samples (within three days of positive PCR test)
  • Rigorously developed to maximize sensitivity and specificity, while minimizing cross-reactivity
  • Simple assay protocol (one hour capture, 30-minute detection steps)
  • Utility in vaccine development, epidemiology, and public health research

For Research Use Only. Not For Use In Diagnostic Procedures.

Diagram of the steps in the SMC® assay principle and example data for the SMC™ SARS-CoV-2 RBD IgG kit demonstrating the ability of this assay to identify immune response within 3 days of a PCR positive result.

Figure 2.SMC® assay principle and example data for the SMC® SARS-CoV-2 RBD IgG kit.

Figure 2 describes the assay principle and shows some example data for the RBD IgG kit.

A) Proprietary elution and digital molecular counting steps enable the SMC® SARS-CoV-2 RBD IgG kit to detect antigen-specific IgG in human serum and plasma at much lower levels compared to traditional immunoassays.

  1. Serum or plasma sample containing SARS-CoV-2 specific anti-RBD antibody
  2. SMC® bead specifically captures SARS-CoV-2 anti-RBD antibody from sample
  3. Fluorescently labeled anti-IgG detection antibody completes the assay complex
  4. The complex is chemically dissociated to elute detection antibodies
  5. Detection antibodies are transferred to the read plate and counted on the SMCxPRO® platform

B) Instrument response (RE) when measuring titrations of plasma belonging to five donors on the SMCxPRO® ultrasensitive immunoassay system, diluted in either kit standard diluent or pre-COVID plasma. 0 condition indicates diluent or pre-COVID plasma alone.

C) Aggregate data is shown for in-house testing of ~300 donor plasma samples from seven training sample cohorts yielding high sensitivity and specificity by Youden’s J Statistic when using instrument response (RE) of 400 and 600 as example cut points. (1 = pre-pandemic, 2 to 3 = SARS-CoV-2 PCR negative, 4 to 6 = SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive, 7 = Influenza cross-reactivity control.)

D) SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific IgG detection in plasma from pre-pandemic and SARS-CoV-2 positive patients grouped chronologically, demonstrating the ability of this assay to identify immune response within 3 days of a PCR positive result.

Additionally, the SMC® SARS-CoV-2 S1 IgA Kit complements the RBD IgG kit to facilitate sensitive characterization of humoral immunity in samples from infected individuals as well as from vaccine trial enrollees, while our extensive SMC® cytokine assays can be used for evaluation of COVID-19 effector immunity.

For Research Use Only. Not For Use In Diagnostic Procedures.

Related Products

Interferon Kits

Loading

Interleukin Kits

Loading

Immunoglobulin Kits (COVID-19 Research)

Other Immunology Kits

Loading

For Research Use Only. Not For Use In Diagnostic Procedures.

Related Webinars

Watch the webinars below to see case studies of SMC® technology being used in immunology research.

For Research Use Only. Not For Use In Diagnostic Procedures.