A method of quantifying and visualizing herpes simplex virus type 1 antigen by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is described. This assay is simplified by the use of polyclonal serum and can be applied to the quantification of free antigen as well cell-bound. Moreover, cell viral antigen can be visualized. Antigen sources were vital suspensions, infected cells and proteins extracted from infected cells. The assay was specific and its sensitivity was dependent on the antigen source. The technique was regarded as specific within a range showing a direct correlation (r>0.8) between the concentration of the antigen and the net absorbance value (the difference of the absorbance obtained with the vital antigen minus the control antigen). The technique has advantages over other ELISA procedures: does not require monoclonal antibodies, or labelled antiviral immunoglobulins or antiviral serum from two different species. In addition total free antigen can be measured.
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