Hemagglutination Assay- Principle, Types, Method, Uses


Hemagglutination assay is a laboratory technique that can detect the presence of antibodies or antigens in a biological sample by observing the agglutination (clumping) of red blood cells (RBCs). Hemagglutination assay is based on the principle that when RBCs are coated with antigens or antibodies, they can bind to their complementary counterparts in the sample and form visible clumps. The absence of clumps indicates a negative result, meaning that the sample does not contain the target antibodies or antigens.

Hemagglutination assay can be used for various purposes, such as:

  • Determining blood types or groups
  • Detecting viral or bacterial infections
  • Measuring the humoral immune response to pathogens or vaccines
  • Diagnosing certain diseases or conditions

Hemagglutination assay is a simple, inexpensive, and fast technique that can be performed in a laboratory or in the field using rapid diagnostic test (RDT) kits. However, hemagglutination assay also has some limitations, such as:

  • The need for specific and standardized reagents and conditions
  • The possibility of false positive or negative results due to non-specific agglutination or interference factors
  • The requirement of trained personnel and manual interpretation of results
  • The lack of digital data and quantitative values

There are two main types of hemagglutination assay: rapid hemagglutination assay and micro-hemagglutination assay. Rapid hemagglutination assay can be performed on a glass slide or a tile using drops of RBC suspension and sample. Micro-hemagglutination assay can be performed on a microplate using microliters of RBC suspension and sample. Both types of hemagglutination assay have their own advantages and disadvantages, which will be discussed in detail in the following sections.