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Evaluation of Nucleocapsid and Spike Protein-based ELISAs for detecting antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

By Wanbing Liu, Lei Liu, Guomei Kou, Yaqiong Zheng, Yinjuan Ding, Wenxu Ni, Qiongshu Wang, Li Tan, Wanlei Wu, Shi Tang, Zhou Xiong, Shangen Zheng

Posted 20 Mar 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.16.20035014

BackgroundAt present, PCR-based nucleic acid detection cannot meet the demands for coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19) diagnosis. Methods214 confirmed COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized in the General Hospital of Central Theater Command of the Peoples Liberation Army between January 18 and February 26, 2020, were recruited. Two Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) kits based on recombinant SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (rN) and spike protein (rS) were used for detecting IgM and IgG antibodies, and their diagnostic feasibility was evaluated. ResultsAmong the 214 patients, 146 (68.2%) and 150 (70.1%) were successfully diagnosed with the rN-based IgM and IgG ELISAs, respectively; 165 (77.1%) and 159 (74.3%) were successfully diagnosed with the rS-based IgM and IgG ELISAs, respectively. The positive rates of the rN-based and rS-based ELISAs for antibody (IgM and/or IgG) detection were 80.4% and 82.2%, respectively. The sensitivity of the rS-based ELISA for IgM detection was significantly higher than that of the rN-based ELISA. We observed an increase in the positive rate for IgM and IgG with an increasing number of days post-disease onset (d.p.o.), but the positive rate of IgM dropped after 35 d.p.o. The positive rate of rN-based and rS-based IgM and IgG ELISAs was less than 60% during the early stage of the illness 0-10 d.p.o., and that of IgM and IgG was obviously increased after 10 d.p.o. ConclusionsELISA has a high sensitivity, especially for the detection of serum samples from patients after 10 d.p.o, it can be an important supplementary method for COVID-19 diagnosis.

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