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Commercial Serology Assays Predict Neutralization Activity Against SARS-CoV-2

By Raymond T. Suhandynata, Melissa A Hoffman, Deli Huang, Jenny T Tran, Michael J Kelner, Sharon L. Reed, Ronald W McLawhon, James E. Voss, David Nemazee, Robert Fitzgerald

Posted 11 Jul 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.10.20150946

Background. Currently it is unknown whether a positive serology results correlates with protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2. There are also concerns regarding the low positive predictive value of SARS-CoV-2 serology tests, especially when testing populations with low disease prevalence. Methods. A neutralization assay was validated in a set of PCR confirmed positive specimens and in a negative cohort. 9,530 specimens were screened using the Diazyme SARS-CoV-2 IgG serology assay and all positive results (N=164) were reanalyzed using the neutralization assay, the Roche total immunoglobin assay, and the Abbott IgG assay. The relationship between the magnitude of a positive SARS-CoV-2 serology result and the levels of neutralizing antibodies detected was correlated. Neutralizing antibody titers (ID50) were also longitudinally monitored in SARS-CoV-2 PCR confirmed patients. Results. The SARS-CoV-2 neutralization assay had a PPA of 96.6% with a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test and a NPA of 98.0% across 100 negative controls. ID50 neutralization titers positively correlated with all three clinical serology platforms. Longitudinal monitoring of hospitalized PCR confirmed COVID-19 patients demonstrates they made high neutralization titers against SARS-CoV-2. PPA between the Diazyme IgG assay alone and the neutralization assay was 50.6%, while combining the Diazyme IgG assay with either the Roche or Abbott platforms increased the PPA to 79.2% and 78.4%, respectively. Conclusions. For the first time, we demonstrate that three widely available clinical serology assays positively correlate with SARS-CoV-2 neutralization activity observed in COVID-19 patients. When a two-platform screen and confirm approach was used for SARS-CoV-2 serology, nearly 80% of two-platform positive specimens had neutralization titers (ID50 >50).

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