Comparative performance data for multiplex SARS-CoV-2 serological assays from a large panel of dried blood spot specimens

Heliyon. 2022 Sep;8(9):e10270. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e10270. Epub 2022 Aug 28.


The extent of the COVID-19 pandemic will be better understood through serosurveys and SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing. Dried blood spot (DBS) samples will play a central role in large scale serosurveillance by simplifying biological specimen collection and transportation, especially in Canada. Direct comparative performance data on multiplex SARS-CoV-2 assays resulting from identical DBS samples are currently lacking. In our study, we aimed to provide performance data for the BioPlex 2200 SARS-CoV-2 IgG (Bio-Rad), V-PLEX SARS-CoV-2 Panel 2 IgG (MSD), and Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 (Roche) commercial assays, as well as for two highly scalable in-house assays (University of Ottawa and Mount Sinai Hospital protocols) to assess their suitability for DBS-based SARS-CoV-2 DBS serosurveillance. These assays were evaluated against identical panels of DBS samples collected from convalescent COVID-19 patients (n = 97) and individuals undergoing routine sexually transmitted and bloodborne infection (STBBI) testing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 90). Our findings suggest that several assays are suitable for serosurveillance (sensitivity >97% and specificity >98%). In contrast to other reports, we did not observe an improvement in performance using multiple antigen consensus-based rules to establish overall seropositivity. This may be due to our DBS panel which consisted of samples collected from convalescent COVID-19 patients with significant anti-spike, -receptor binding domain (RBD), and -nucleocapsid antibody titers. This study demonstrates that biological specimens collected as DBS coupled with one of several readily available assays are useful for large-scale COVID-19 serosurveillance.

Keywords: Covid-19; Dried blood spots; Immunoassays; SARS-CoV-2; Serology; Serosurveys.