A rapid point of care immunoswab assay for SARS-CoV detection

J Virol Methods. 2008 Sep;152(1-2):77-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2008.05.023. Epub 2008 Jul 11.


The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) resulted in several outbreaks worldwide. Early tests for diagnosis were not always conclusive in identifying a SARS suspected patient. Nucleocapsid protein (NP) is the most predominant virus derived structural protein which is shed in high amounts in serum and nasopharyngeal aspirate during the first week of infection. As part of such efforts, a simple, easy to use immunoswab method was developed by generating a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), Bispecific MAbs and chicken polyclonal IgY antibody against the SARS-CoV nucleocapsid protein (NP). Employing the MAb-based immunoswab, an NP concentration of 200 pg/mL in saline and pig nasopharyngeal aspirate, and 500 pg/mL in rabbit serum were detected. BsMAb-based immunoswabs detected an NP concentration of 20 pg/mL in saline, 500 pg/mL in rabbit serum and 20-200 pg/mL in pig nasopharyngeal aspirate. Polyclonal IgY-based immunoswabs detected an NP concentration of 10 pg/mL in pig nasopharyngeal aspirate providing the most sensitive SARS point of care assay. Results show that the robust immunoswab method of detecting SARS-CoV NP antigen can be developed into an easy and effective way of identifying SARS suspected individuals during a future SARS epidemic, thereby reducing and containing the transmission. The key feature of this simple immunoswab diagnostic assay is its ability to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV antigen within 45-60 min with the availability of the body fluid samples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hybridomas
  • Immunoassay
  • Immunoglobulins / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nucleocapsid / immunology
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus / immunology
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • IgY
  • Immunoglobulins