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The Western Blot test

The western blot test uses the general western blot procedure. A slab of gel with high voltage speed is taken and the proteins contained in the HIV infected cells are opened. The separated proteins are transferred to another plate and a procedure similar to ELISA is performed. The patient's diluted serum is poured over the plate and the HIV antibodies bind to certain proteins on the plate while others are washed away. The enzyme linked antibodies detect the presence of bound antibody. With this procedure, the proteins are separated and it is possible to see exactly to which HIV proteins the patients have antibodies. The test is considered positive if the antibodies to several major HIV proteins are present. Normally a combination of ELISA and Western blot tests are employed for diagnosing HIV infection. Blood donors are also screened with these tests.

Herpes Blood Test

Blood tests to diagnose the presence of herpes virus antibodies can be done even if the patient does not have any visible symptoms. The standard available tests are not recommended since they are not very accurate. There is a potential for false positive results. A type specific virus culture will give an accurate result only when the sores have not healed. Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1) and HSV-2 are the most common viruses diagnosed using type-specific blood tests. There are three methods available to diagnose herpes - Cell Culture, Antigen test and Pap Smear test.

Herpes Western Blot Test: A more sensitive test than the viral culture is the Gold Standard test known as PCR DNA test. This test also known as Herpes Western Blot test, which is rated as an accurate test to identify DNA for viral particles which easily differentiates the two types, viz. type-1 and type-2. This test can be carried out safely during pregnancy. A wide range of antibodies that respond against many herpes simplex virus proteins are tested in Western Blot test.

BIO-KIT or POCKit TEST: Recently, a more accurate POCKit type-specific test has been approved by FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to diagnose herpes simplex virus-2. A doctor's office can do this Point Of Care (POCKit) test and provide results in just 10 minutes. This new test is cost-effective and less time consuming. A positive HSV-2 test result confirms genital infection. Sensitivity in this test is around 96% accurate. Using this test during pregnancy is not approved by FDA.

ELISA ,Immunoblot and IgG type specific Elisa are the other three tests carried out to diagnose HSV-1 & HSV-2 types with the sensitivity ranging from 96% - 100%. Blood drawn from the patient's arm is sent to local labs and the results are available in a fortnight.


Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by deer ticks. Typically this disease is noticed in the Northeast, northern California and upper Midwest in the U.S. Lyme disease is also noticed in Europe, Asia and Australia. Ticks latch on to the person and transmit the disease-producing bacteria such as Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria passes through the bloodstream and produces symptoms that may resemble fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome or joint disorder.


Symptoms of Lyme Disease include a rash that can be noticed at the site of the tick bite. The red bumps are warm and tender to the touch. The rashes resemble a bull's eye. Patient suffering from Lyme Disease is likely to suffer flu-like symptoms along with the rashes. There is severe joint pain. Other symptoms of Lyme Disease include difficulty in concentration and remembering. The disease progressively affects the heart and central nervous system.


The ELISA test is used to detect Lyme disease. Other diagnostic tests include Western Blot test and Polymerase chain reaction test. Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin are used to treat Lyme disease in the early stage. If the disease has progressed, intravenous antibiotic treatment may be required. Persons in tick-infected areas must cover themselves completely with long sleeves and pants. They must check for any attached ticks after going out. Remove any tick with a pair of tweezers and then disinfect the site of the bite. Use of repellant may help.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 18, 2017