Background. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitates better understanding of the kinetics of antibody production induced by infection with SARS-CoV-2. We aimed to develop a high-throughput multiplex assay to detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 to assess immunity to the virus in the general population. Methods. Spike protein subunits S1 and receptor binding domain, and nucleoprotein were coupled to microspheres. Sera collected before emergence of SARS-CoV-2 (n = 224) and of non-SARS-CoV-2 influenza-like illness (n = 184), and laboratory-confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 115) with various severities of COVID-19 were tested for SARS-CoV-2–specific IgG concentrations. Results. Our assay discriminated SARS-CoV-2–induced antibodies and those induced by other viruses. The assay specificity was 95.1%–99.0% with sensitivity 83.6%–95.7%. By merging the test results for all 3 antigens a specificity of 100% was achieved with a sensitivity of at least 90%. Hospitalized COVID-19 patients developed higher IgG concentrations and the rate of IgG production increased faster compared to nonhospitalized cases. Conclusions. The bead-based serological assay for quantitation of SARS-CoV-2–specific antibodies proved to be robust and can be conducted in many laboratories. We demonstrated that testing of antibodies against multiple antigens increases sensitivity and specificity compared to single-antigen–specific IgG determination.

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The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

den Hartog, G., Schepp, R.M., Kuijer, M., GeurtsvanKessel, C., van Beek, J., Rots, N., … van Binnendijk, RS. (2020). SARS-CoV-2-Specific Antibody Detection for Seroepidemiology: A Multiplex Analysis Approach Accounting for Accurate Seroprevalence. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 222(9), 1452–1461. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiaa479