Is A CLIA Test More Accurate Than An ELISA Test


Since Covid-19 came about, scientists worldwide have been working hard in medicine to find the best ways to keep this virus, and others like it from spreading. Vaccines are always the best way to do so, but you need antibody testing to really make this work. 

Testing for people who have developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 can actually help to fight against the continually strengthening virus. While it has much dissipated from our daily lives, it is still hanging around and causing many problems for many. 

Antibody testing using ELISA and CLIA testing kits is one great way to keep the virus at bay and under control through careful monitoring. You can even get easy access to kits like this now, such as here: 

Using antibody tests helps to identify people who have severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS-CoV-2 immunity and understanding how many there are in the population is a big step in preventing the virus from ever gaining the traction it had in 2020 once again. 

However, nothing is perfect, and understanding whether the CLIA testing method, or the ELISA testing method is more accurate is a very important step in getting accurate testing results. 

What Is Antibody Testing?

So, how does this testing work? Well, it is made to detect any antibodies that are produced in response to the presence of a virus. It relies on the blood being tested to check for any infection having occurred in the past. 

Antibodies are found in all of us, they are proteins which help our bodies to fight off infections. They are special protein molecules that our immune systems make as a response to a foreign invasion, aka. Antigens. 

These are shaped like the letter ‘Y’ and they bind with antigens, neutralizing them, and eventually killing them to stop infections. When you develop antibodies against a virus for some time, your body will be able to keep the virus away if you are exposed to it again. 

However, it is not only Covid-19 that has seen this kind of testing done, this kind of testing has been done for multiple different viruses, including some like Hepatitis B. 

In the past there has been much scientific research conducted into the effectiveness of ELISA testing and CLIA testing against things such as Hepatitis B. Let’s look at a bit of research done on this below.


Research has been done by scientists and students in the medical science field to further adapt testing against antigens to help fight off viruses with more speed. 

One of these tests looked at the comparison of ELISA and CLIA testing methods in the anti-Hepatitis B antibody titers. 

The Methodology Used

This was a comparative study that was done at a Medical College to measure serum samples all sent for anti-HB levels in 2016 between May and June using CLIA and ELISA testing methods. 

The anti-HBs would have values of under 10mIU/ml, and would be considered non-protective, but over 10mIU/ ml would be protective. 

The agreement between these tests in being able to classify the titers of antibodies as being protective or not would be noted using the Kappa coefficient. 

The Results Found

The study pulled out results from 69 samples, and 18 were from health care professionals and the rest from patients. The agreement of the results were at 96.5 and 90.9% protective, which had an agreement rate of 0.84. 

The coefficients of variation of CLIA and ELISA were at 74.5% and 113/1%. 

There were three results noted value based discordant, and two samples were deemed as being protective by ELISA but not by CLIA. 

Overall, both are very accurate, and they pulled similar results. Yet there are some discrepancies. This could be due to variations in the calibrators which the study used. However, CLIA showed more variation, with the advantage of being an automated test with a lower turn around. 

Nonetheless, it would seem both are reliable in testing in this way. However, ELISA has been seen to be a favored method over CLIA.

CLIA & ELISA Differences

What do we know? Well, CLIA and ELISA have a much higher sensitivity rate when they are compared to other methods such as PA. CLIA also is higher in concordance with ELISA. 

That being said, CLIA has got a higher specificity and is more sensitive when it comes to the IgM and IgG. Therefore, it is better used for clinical diagnosis of things such as MP infections and the like.