An In Vitro Microneutralization Assay for SARS-CoV-2 Serology and Drug Screening

Curr Protoc Microbiol. 2020 Sep;58(1):e108. doi: 10.1002/cpmc.108.


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in late 2019. Since then, the virus has spread globally and caused a pandemic. Assays that can measure the antiviral activity of antibodies or antiviral compounds are needed for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and drug development. Here, we describe in detail a microneutralization assay, which can be used to assess in a quantitative manner if antibodies or drugs can block entry and/or replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC. Basic Protocol 1: Microneutralization assay to test inhibition of virus by antibodies (purified antibodies or serum/plasma) Basic Protocol 2: Screening of anti-SARS-CoV-2 compounds in vitro Support Protocol: SARS-CoV-2 propagation.

Keywords: COVID-19; COVID19; SARS-CoV-2; antivirals; medium-throughput screening; microneutralization; neutralization.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology*
  • COVID-19
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neutralization Tests / methods*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vero Cells
  • Virus Internalization / drug effects
  • Virus Replication / drug effects


  • Antibodies, Viral