Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE) Assay

Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), also known as antibody-mediated (infection) intensification, is a risk that should be considered in vaccine development. Creative Biolabs' scientists provide the experience, technique, and expertise to advance your vaccine research as a world-leading provider of virology testing. We can create complex and customized assays to meet your exact specifications.

What is ADE?

ADE is a phenomenon in which a virus's binding to suboptimal antibodies promotes its entry into host cells. If these cells (usually macrophages) allow viral replication, the antibodies will boost infection by increasing virus entry. Antibodies in ADE promote viral infection of target immune cells via the phagocytic FcR or complement pathway. ADE has been linked to mosquito-borne flavivirus infections like dengue and Zika. Because ADE is dependent on antibody concentration and neutralization ability, it is critical to assess the impact of an immunization regime's antibody response on ADE.

Antibody-mediated neutralization and ADE.Fig.1 Antibody-mediated neutralization and ADE. (Arvin, et al., 2020)

Detection Methods

ADE assays are a valuable tool for assessing antibodies' ability to enhance secondary infection with related viruses such as SARS-COV-2 and provide valuable insights into virus pathogenesis in the development of vaccines. At Creative Biolabs, we offer a variety of ADE assays.

  • The live virus-based ADE assay, which requires BSL-laboratory, and the reporter (GFP or Luciferase) viral particle-based ADE assay are two bioanalytical methods for evaluating ADE.
  • The ADE assays are carried out on target cell lines that express the Fc receptor (K562, U937, Raji, or THP-1).
  • A fixed concentration of virus is pre-incubated with a serial dilution of serum/antibody before the mix is added to target cells.
  • The percentage of infected cells at different serum concentrations is compared to untreated/non-enhancing controls to determine ADE.
  • In the live virus-based ADE assay, we examine and quantify the effect of ADE using immunostaining and flow cytometry analysis; in the reporter viral particle-based ADE assay, we use flow cytometry analysis, ELISA, ELISPOT, or luciferase assay system.
  • The assay is optimized in a 96-well plate format for speed, stability, and reproducibility, while also requiring less testing material.

The workflow of ADE assays. (Creative Biolabs)Fig.2 The workflow of ADE assays. (Creative Biolabs)

Creative Biolabs can provide high-quality ADE assays to meet your needs by combining our virology capabilities and extensive expertise. We can conduct the studies you require on the viruses of your choice, such as SARS-COV-2, DENV, and Zika. Our integrated services and efficient workflow help you complete projects faster. Contact us today to learn more about our virology testing services.


  1. Arvin, A.M.; et al, A perspective on potential antibody-dependent enhancement of SARS-CoV-2. Nature, 2020, 584(7821): 353-363.

All products and services are intended for Research Use Only, and NOT to be used in diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.

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