Background Coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated to COVID-19, represents an emerging health threat worldwide as, after initial reports in China, it has continued to spread rapidly. The clinical spectrum of the disease varies from mild to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Moreover, many patients can be asymptomatic, thus increasing the uncertainty of the diagnostic work-up. Laboratory tests play a pivotal role in the diagnosis and management of COVID-19, the current gold standard being real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) on respiratory tract specimens. However, the diagnostic accuracy of rRT-PCR depends on many pre-analytical and analytical variables. The measurement of specific COVID-19 antibodies (both IgG and IgM) should serve as an additional, non-invasive tool for disease detection and management. Methods The imprecision of the MAGLUMI™ 2000 Plus 2019-nCov IgM and IgG assays (Snibe, Shenzhen, China) was assessed by adopting the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) EP15-A3 protocol. Linearity of dilution and recovery was evaluated by means of mixes of high-level pools and low-level pools of serum samples. Immunoglobulin time kinetics were evaluated using a series of serum samples, repeatedly collected from COVID-19-positive patients at different times, from <5 days up to 26-30 days. Results Findings at the analytical validation of the assay carried out according to the CLSI EP15-A3 guideline demonstrated that imprecision and repeatability were acceptable (repeatability was <4% and <6% for IgM and IgG, respectively, whilst intermediate imprecision was <6%). In addition, results of dilution and recovery studies were satisfactory. The kinetics of COVID-19 antibodies confirmed previously reported findings, showing a rapid increase of both IgM and IgG after 6-7 days from the symptom onset. IgG had 100% sensitivity on day 12, whilst 88% was the higher positive rate achieved for IgM after the same time interval. Conclusions The findings of this study demonstrate the validity of the MAGLUMI 2000 Plus CLIA assay for the measurement of specific IgM and IgG in sera of COVID-19 patients, and for obtaining valuable data on the kinetics of both (IgM and IgG) COVID-19 antibodies. These data represent a pre-requisite for the appropriate utilization of specific antibodies for the diagnosis and management of COVID-19 patients.
Keywords: COVID IgG and IgM; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; analytical performances; antibody kinetics; rRT-PCR.
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