Assay production with Elecsys test reagents

Bestselling product: Somewhere in the world, an Elecsys test reagent is used 50 times each second.


Innovation from Tradition

For 20 years now, the tried and tested Elecsys tests for lab diagnostics have been available. And for almost 20 years, these tests have achieved growth rates in the double digits, making Roche the market leader in immunodiagnostics. What's that? Read more!

What is clinical chemistry diagnostics?

Clinical chemistry diagnostics is the analysis of chemical products that are created in the body through metabolic processes. It is used in pre-eclampsia tests (known as toxaemia of pregnancy in layman's terms) or in heart failure tests, for example.

It's in the mix!

Elecsys test reagents are produced in large mix tanks in the assay production operated by Diagnostics Operations Mannheim. Production employees weigh all the necessary starter materials and mix them. Basic starter materials are purchased from external providers, whereas complex biological ingredients, such as enzymes or antibodies, are produced by Roche themselves at the Penzberg site. Depending on the mixture, this process can take a few hours or up to many weeks, ongoing quality control included.

Elecsys: a bestseller

Somewhere in the world, an Elecsys test reagent is used 50 times each second. That equals approximately one billion tests each year. Elecsys assays have broad measuring ranges. Just a few molecules are enough to produce a reliable result. Elecsys technology is sensitive enough to detect a dissolved sugar cube in Lake Starnberg.

As nimble as a fox and extremely flexible too

The Elecsys principle combines the benefits of optical and biochemical detection methods so that particularly small quantities of substances can be measured. But higher concentrations are no problem for Elecsys either. The technology is nimble to boot: The average measurement time of Elecsys assays is 18 minutes and the maximum measurement time is 27 minutes.

The lock and key principle in immunodiagnostics

Immunodiagnostics follows an important basic principle of the human immune system: development of antibodies against foreign substances (known as antigens). Antibodies bind as exact fits to their antigens. This is known as the lock and key principle. Today, antibodies can be industrially manufactured and used in immunodiagnostics to specifically detect antigens in blood samples.

Elecsys and cobas are the dream team in laboratory medicine

Elecsys test systems are the "software" of modern laboratory medicine. Together with the suitable "hardware", the cobas tool kit system for diagnostics labs, they adapt to fulfil the most varied requirements, and labs can create the right solution to fit their individual needs.

Light years ahead

Elecsys assays use what is known as ECL (electrochemiluminescence) technology, Roche's unique measurement principle. First the test reagents react to the substance to be detected (measurand) in a controlled process, forming a chemical complex. Then more test reagents are added and an electrical voltage is applied to generate a light signal. The higher the concentration of the measurand, the more intense the light signal. This means that "the light goes on" when an analyte is detected in the sample.

Today's huge selection of test systems

Currently there are Elecsys tests for 105 clinical chemistry and immunodiagnostics parameters. At the time the system was introduced in the market there were only 16. These tests help diagnose numerous conditions, for example heart, bone, blood, thyroid, viral and autoimmune diseases, as well as cancer and diseases related to pregnancy, and many more. And the test portfolio continues to grow.

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Photographer: Philipp Wente