Serological assays estimate highly variable SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody activity in recovered COVID-19 patients

Larry L. Luchsinger, Brett P. Ransegnola, Daniel K. Jin, Frauke Muecksch, Yiska Weisblum, Weili Bao, Parakkal Jovvian George, Marilis Rodriguez, Nancy Tricoche, Fabian Schmidt, Chengjie Gao, Shabnam Jawahar, Mouli Pal, Emily Schnall, Huan Zhang, Donna Strauss, Karina Yazdanbakhsh, Christopher D. Hillyer, Paul D. Bieniasz, Theodora Hatziioannou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


The development of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) following infection or vaccination is likely to be critical for the development of sufficient population immunity to drive cessation of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. A large number of serologic tests, platforms, and methodologies are being employed to determine seroprevalence in populations to select convalescent plasma samples for therapeutic trials and to guide policies about reopening. However, the tests have substantial variations in sensitivity and specificity, and their ability to quantitatively predict levels of NAbs is unknown. We collected 370 unique donors enrolled in the New York Blood Center Convalescent Plasma Program between April and May of 2020. We measured levels of antibodies in convalescent plasma samples using commercially available SARS-CoV-2 detection tests and in-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and correlated serological measurements with NAb activity measured using pseudotyped virus particles, which offer the most informative assessment of antiviral activity of patient sera against viral infection. Our data show that a large proportion of convalescent plasma samples have modest antibody levels and that commercially available tests have various degrees of accuracy in predicting NAb activity. We found that the Ortho anti-SARS-CoV-2 total Ig and IgG high-throughput serological assays (HTSAs) and the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay quantify levels of antibodies that strongly correlate with the results of NAb assays and are consistent with gold standard ELISA results. These findings provide immediate clinical relevance to serology results that can be equated to NAb activity and could serve as a valuable roadmap to guide the choice and interpretation of serological tests for SARSCoV- 2.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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