SARS-CoV-2 Assays To Detect Functional Antibody Responses That Block ACE2 Recognition in Vaccinated Animals and Infected Patients.J Clin Microbiol. 2020 10 21; 58(11)JC
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a global pandemic of COVID-19, resulting in cases of mild to severe respiratory distress and significant mortality. The global outbreak of this novel coronavirus has now infected >20 million people worldwide, with >5 million cases in the United States (11 August 2020). The development of diagnostic and research tools to determine infection and vaccine efficacy is critically needed. We have developed multiple serologic assays using newly designed SARS-CoV-2 reagents for detecting the presence of receptor-binding antibodies in sera. The first assay is surface plasmon resonance (SPR) based and can quantitate both antibody binding to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and blocking to the Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor in a single experiment. The second assay is enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based and can measure competition and blocking of the ACE2 receptor to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with antispike antibodies. The assay is highly versatile, and we demonstrate the broad utility of the assay by measuring antibody functionality of sera from small animals and nonhuman primates immunized with an experimental SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. In addition, we employ the assay to measure receptor blocking of sera from SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. The assay is shown to correlate with pseudovirus neutralization titers. This type of rapid, surrogate neutralization diagnostic can be employed widely to help study SARS-CoV-2 infection and assess the efficacy of vaccines.