A high-throughput liquid bead array assay confirms strong correlation between SARS-CoV-2 antibody level and COVID-19 severity

iScience. 2021 Feb 19;24(2):102052. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102052. Epub 2021 Jan 9.


A detailed understanding of the adaptive host response to SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans is urgently needed. We developed a sensitive, high-throughput, and efficient assay using liquid bead array technology. We observed advantages over traditional ELISA for the detection and quantification of binding IgG against the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. To determine whether COVID-19 symptom severity correlates with SARS-CoV-2 IgG, we measured anti-RBD IgG levels from 67 subjects recovered from PCR-confirmed COVID-19. We found that COVID-19 symptom severity strongly correlated with RBD IgG level (p < 0.001). These findings have substantial implications for public policy surrounding assessments of antibody responses and possible immunity, as not all cases of COVID-19 can be assumed to generate a protective antibody response, and mild disease in particular is capable of generating very low-level anti-RBD IgG levels. These findings also have important implications for the selection of donors for convalescent plasma to be used therapeutically.

Keywords: Biological Sciences; Microbiology; Viral Microbiology; Virology.