ELISA is a gold-standard immunoassay widely used in the drug development process. It is a sensitive and accurate technique to detect and quantify analytes, including antigens, antibodies, proteins, and hormones. Hence, they are beneficial in different phases of drug development. To give you an overview of the drug development process, prospective drug entities are identified and subjected to several preclinical and clinical studies to develop into potential drug compounds.
Despite several advantages of ELISA assays, they can only assess one analyte at a time. Hence, newer multiplex assays such as Meso Scale Discovery (MSD) are used increasingly for detecting and quantifying analytes in biological samples. msd assays combine electrochemiluminescence (ECL) with multiarray technology to enhance sensitivity and multiplexing capabilities. MSD biomarker assays can profile multiple biomarkers such as cytokines having a significant impact on developing novel biological products.
Researchers can use ELISA and MSD-ECL assays to evaluate analytes in biological samples. Most MSD assays are sandwich immunoassays specifically designed to assess analytes in complex biological matrices. However, due to multiplexing capacities, the MSD platform is an appealing bioanalytical option. Hence, we share a brief comparison between ELISA and MSD assays in the current article.
ELISA vs. MSD assay
Developing MSD immunoassay is relatively fast and easy. Besides, they are highly sensitive and provide a broader dynamic range. These features mean fewer concentrations fall beyond the detection range. Compared to ELISA assays, MSD assays:
- Require fewer sample volumes
- Provide sensitivity and precise results
- Handle complex study matrices
- Faster protocols
- Quantify ten analytes per assay well
- Do not need dilutions to measure elevated levels.
Moreover, unlike ELISA plate readers, MSD has faster read times and does not require cleaning or maintenance downtime. Following is a detailed comparison between ELISA and MSD assays.
- ELISA requires 50-100 μL of sample volume, whereas MSD needs just 10-25 μL.
- MSD can multiplex ten analytes simultaneously
- MSD has U-Plex assays as a flexible panel configuration
- The dynamic range of MSD assays is 3-4+ logs compared to 1-2 logs of ELISA assays
- ELISA assays are subjected to matrix effects, which are significantly reduced in MSD assays
- Compared to ELISA assays, MSD has simple protocols
- ELISA has several washing steps. MSD typically has 1-3 washing steps.
- MSD provides rapid throughput analysis
- ELISA needs daily cleaning, while MSD needs no user maintenance.
Besides providing a robust immunoassay, MSD also assists in converting existing ELISA assays into an MSD platform. A plethora of assay options means MSD can deliver the required flexibility in choosing assay formats. Some examples of assay flexibility include:
- When an appropriate antibody pair is available, researchers can use sandwich immunoassays for high specificity and sensitivity
- Bridging immunoassays are another excellent option for highly-sensitive immunogenicity tests.
- For smaller analytes or when a single antibody is available, technicians can use competitive immunoassays to detect the analyte of interest.
- Moreover, direct binding assays are suitable when researchers have a single antibody for analysis.
Additionally, once an MSD assay is developed, researchers can continue coating their assay plates or use MSD’s Prototype Printing service for a cost-effective analysis.