Ultrarapid and ultrasensitive detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in COVID-19 patients via a 3D-printed nanomaterial-based biosensing platform

J Med Virol. 2022 Dec;94(12):5808-5826. doi: 10.1002/jmv.28075. Epub 2022 Aug 30.


Rapid detection of antibodies during infection and after vaccination is critical for the control of infectious outbreaks, understanding immune response, and evaluating vaccine efficacy. In this manuscript, we evaluate a simple ultrarapid test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in COVID-19 patients, which gives quantitative results (i.e., antibody concentration) in 10-12 s using a previously reported nanomaterial-based three-dimensional (3D)-printed biosensing platform. This platform consists of a micropillar array electrode fabricated via 3D printing of aerosolized gold nanoparticles and coated with nanoflakes of graphene and specific SARS-CoV-2 antigens, including spike S1, S1 receptor-binding domain (RBD) and nucleocapsid (N). The sensor works on the principle of electrochemical transduction, where the change of sensor impedance is realized by the interactions between the viral proteins attached to the sensor electrode surface and the antibodies. The three sensors were used to test samples from 17 COVID-19 patients and 3 patients without COVID-19. Unlike other serological tests, the 3D sensors quantitatively detected antibodies at a concentration as low as picomole within 10-12 s in human plasma samples. We found that the studied COVID-19 patients had higher concentrations of antibodies to spike proteins (RBD and S1) than to the N protein. These results demonstrate the enormous potential of the rapid antibody test platform for understanding patients' immunity, disease epidemiology and vaccine efficacy, and facilitating the control and prevention of infectious epidemics.

Keywords: 3D biosensor; COVID-19 antibodies; SARS-CoV-2; additive manufacturing; graphene oxide; rapid antibody detection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • Gold
  • Graphite*
  • Humans
  • Metal Nanoparticles*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • Gold
  • Graphite