Rapid and accurate agglutination-based testing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies
Cell Reports Methods
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We have developed a rapid, accurate, and cost-effective serologic test for SARS-CoV-2 virus, which caused the COVID-19 pandemic, on the basis of antibody-dependent agglutination of antigen-coated latex particles. When validated using plasma samples that are positive or negative for SARS-CoV-2, the agglutination assay detected antibodies against the receptor-binding domain of the spike (S-RBD) or the nucleocapsid protein of SARS-CoV-2 with 100% specificity and ∼98% sensitivity. Furthermore, we found that the strength of the S-RBD antibody response measured by the agglutination assay correlated with the efficiency of the plasma in blocking RBD binding to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 in a surrogate neutralization assay, suggesting that the agglutination assay might be used to identify individuals with virus-neutralizing antibodies. Intriguingly, we found that >92% of patients had detectable antibodies on the day of a positive viral RNA test, suggesting that the agglutination antibody test might complement RNA testing for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection.