A High-Throughput Assay for Circulating Antibodies Directed Against the S Protein of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2

J Infect Dis. 2020 Oct 13;222(10):1629-1634. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa531.


More than 24 million infections with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) were confirmed globally by September 2020. While polymerase chain reaction-based assays are used for diagnosis, there is a need for high-throughput, rapid serologic methods. A Luminex binding assay was developed and used to assess simultaneously the presence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-specific antibodies in human serum and plasma. Clear differentiation was achieved between specimens from infected and uninfected subjects, and a wide range of serum/plasma antibody levels was delineated in infected subjects. All 25 specimens from 18 patients with COVID-19 were positive in the assays with both the trimeric spike and the receptor-binding domain proteins. None of the 13 specimens from uninfected subjects displayed antibodies to either antigen. There was a highly statistically significant difference between the antibody levels of COVID-19-infected and -uninfected specimens (P < .0001). This high-throughput antibody assay is accurate, requires only 2.5 hours, and uses 5 ng of antigen per test.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; antibodies; antibody assay; coronavirus.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Betacoronavirus / genetics
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology*
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods*
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Data Accuracy
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Domains / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2