Comparison of sixteen serological SARS-CoV-2 immunoassays in sixteen clinical laboratories

Abstract

Serological SARS-CoV-2 assays are needed to support clinical diagnosis and epidemiological investigations. Recently, assays for the large-volume detection of total antibodies (Ab) and immunoglobulin (Ig) G and M against SARS-CoV-2 antigens have been developed, but there are limited data on the diagnostic accuracy of these assays. This study was organized as a Danish national collaboration and included fifteen commercial and one in-house anti-SARS-CoV-2 assays in sixteen laboratories. Sensitivity was evaluated using 150 serum samples from individuals diagnosed with asymptomatic, mild or moderate nonhospitalized (n=129) or hospitalized (n=31) COVID-19, confirmed by nucleic acid amplification tests, collected 13-73 days from symptom onset. Specificity and cross-reactivity were evaluated in samples collected prior to the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic from > 586 blood donors and patients with autoimmune diseases or CMV or EBV infections. Predefined specificity criteria of ≥99% were met by all total-Ab and IgG assays except one (Diasorin/LiaisonXL-IgG 97.2%). The sensitivities in descending order were: Wantai/ELISA total-Ab (96.7%), CUH/NOVO in-house ELISA total-Ab (96.0%), Ortho/Vitros total-Ab (95.3%), YHLO/iFlash-IgG (94.0%), Ortho/Vitros-IgG (93.3%), Siemens/Atellica total-Ab (93.2%), Roche-Elecsys total-Ab (92.7%), Abbott-Architect-IgG (90.0%), Abbott/Alinity-IgG (median 88.0%), Diasorin/LiaisonXL-IgG (84.6%), Siemens/Vista total-Ab (81.0%), Euroimmun/ELISA-IgG (78.0%), and Snibe/Maglumi-IgG (median 78.0%). The IgM results were variable, but one assay (Wantai/ELISA-IgM) had both high sensitivity (82.7%) and specificity (99%). The rate of seropositivity increased with time from symptom onset and symptom severity. In conclusion, predefined sensitivity and specificity acceptance criteria of 90%/99%, respectively, for diagnostic use were met in five of six total-Ab and three of seven IgG assays.

Competing Interest Statement

All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare: no support from any organization for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organizations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years, for all authors except Ram Dessau who reports personal fees from Advisory board meeting 2018, Roche Diagnostics, outside the submitted work; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

Funding Statement

The development of the CUH-NOVO SARS-CoV-2 Total Ab ELISA was financially supported by grants from the Carlsberg Foundation (CF20-0045) and the Novo Nordisk Foundation (205A0063505).

Author Declarations

I confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.

Yes

The details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:

The study of samples from patients with former SARS-CoV-2 infection for validation of serological SARS-CoV-2 assays was approved by the Regional Scientific Committee for the Capital Region of Denmark (H-20028627). All blood donors were asked for consent for using archive samples for their use in the validation of new methods and assay investigations as quality control projects.

All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.

Yes

I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).

Yes

I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.

Yes

Data Availability

The STARD 2015 checklist has been followed

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