Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax spores can remain dormant in the soil for years, even decades, and then become activated when ingested by animals. Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic animals, but it can also occur in humans when they are exposed to spores, infected animals or tissue from infected animals. Humans can develop three forms of anthrax – inhalational, gastrointestinal or cutaneous. Inhalational anthrax caused by inhaling spores is the most serious, with a high fatality rate. Gastrointestinal anthrax is caused by ingesting meat from an infected animal, while cutaneous anthrax results from accidental exposure to contaminated animal hides. Anthrax can be treated successfully by antibiotic therapy in many cases if detected promptly. Cutaneous or gastrointestinal anthrax are generally more responsive to treatment than inhalational because of the slower progression of the disease.
Heightened public awareness of anthrax has occurred with publicized incidents of bioterrorism and use of anthrax spores as weapons. In what appeared to be a bioterrorism attack in 2001, anthrax spores were sent by mail leading to 22 illnesses and five deaths. Natural outbreaks in animals occur from time to time throughout the world.
Bacillus anthracis releases three protein factors during infection, Edema Factor, Lethal Factor and Protective Antigen. These factors act in combination to bring about the lethal effects of anthrax infection. Protective antigen acts as a potentiator for edema factor and lethal factor, facilitating the entry of these two toxins into cells where their biochemical activity leads to cell disruption.
Humans and animals infected with anthrax bacteria develop a specific immune response to the Protective Antigen (PA) within a number of days following infection. This antibody response is a highly specific marker for anthrax infection. Detection of PA antibodies serves as a means for laboratory confirmation of a suspected anthrax infection.
Immunetics’ QuickELISA Anthrax-PA kit* is the first commercially available in-vitro diagnostic test for detection of antibodies to Protective Antigen of B. anthracis (anthrax) in human and animal samples. It was developed under contract from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide a standardized anthrax test for public health laboratory use. The QuickELISA Anthrax-PA kit demonstrated 100% sensitivity and over 99% specificity in clinical trials.
The patented QuickELISA™ methodology* simplifies the assay by reducing both the number of steps and the turnaround time.
- Effective: Detects antibodies to Protective Antigen, a component of anthrax toxin
- Quick: Rapid ELISA requires only 45 minute turnaround time
- Easy to use: Standard 96-well plate format, positive and negative controls and ready-to-use reagents all included
- Proven: FDA-approved for in vitro diagnostic use, CE marked in Europe