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Laboratory
Demystifying diagnostic testing: serology
  1. Paul Burr

    Paul Burr graduated from Edinburgh in 1992. He joined BioBest Laboratories in Midlothian in 1999, where, as veterinary director, he has day-to-day responsibility for the management of all virological testing. His professional interests include the standards of routine virological diagnosis in veterinary practice and the response of dogs and cats to routine vaccination.

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  2. David Snodgrass

    David Snodgrass graduated from Edinburgh in 1969. He is the founder and managing director of BioBest Laboratories and has more than 30 years' experience of diagnosis and research in virology, gained at the Moredun Institute.

Abstract

IT has been recognised since the time of Louis Pasteur that factors providing immunity could be found in serum. These proteins (antibodies) are produced by the body in response to the presence of foreign proteins (antigens), which stimulate an immune response. Antibodies usually bind specifically to the antigen which stimulated their production. This specificity, coupled with the ready accessibility of blood serum for analysis, has led to the widespread use of antibodies as aids to disease diagnosis. The measurement of antigen-antibody reactions for diagnostic purposes is known as serology. This article describes the underlying principles and common applications of various serological tests employed in the veterinary field. By way of an introduction, it briefly reviews antibody production and the types of antibodies relevant to diagnostic serology.

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