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Authors:Dobaño et al. 

Journal/ Pre-Print:BioRxiv 

Tags: Clinical/ Diagnostics 

Research Highlights 

  1. Developed a sensitive multiplex assay using quantitative suspension array technology (qSAT)s which included RBD, S1, S2, S, M and N SARS-CoV-2 antigens 

  1. Observed some cross-reactivity of negative control (pre-pandemic) sera for M, S2 and N SARS-CoV-2 antigens 


The authors developed a time-optimised qSAT assay based on a Luminex platform which measured antibodies IgG, IgM, and IgA against SARS-CoV-2 antigens RBD, S1, S2, S (spikeprotein and its components), M (membrane) and N (nucleoprotein). The authors use of multiplexing with different combinations of antibody isotype and antigen increased specificity and sensitivity. High specificity and sensitivity was observed against 128 pre-pandemic plasma negative controls and 115 positive control plasmas. Cross-reactivity to M, S2 and N antigens was observed for some negative controls. The authors note there is further work to validate this potentially useful tool, which could then be applied to vaccine development and/or antibody studies. 

Impact for SARS-CoV2/COVID19 research efforts 

Develop diagnostic tools for SARS-CoV2/COVID19 

Others: Develop a multiplexed antibody detection tool for application of post-vaccine efficacy and post-infection antibody studies 

Study Type  

  • In vitro study 

Strengths and limitations of the paper 

Novelty: Developed a new multiplexing tool to study antibody responses to multiple antigens of SARS-CoV-2  

Standing in the field: Builds on other serological assays, but lacks supporting informationfrom conventional ELISAs          

Appropriate statistics:Good statistics with specificities and sensitivities. However, averages with error bars would have made comparative data clearer 

Viral model used:SARS-CoV-2 antigens 

Translatability:Possible research tool for vaccine development and/or antibody studies 

Main limitations: 

  • Volume of sample used per test compared to volume used in an ELISA is not clear 

  • No comparison of multiplex test with ELISA to show comparability 

  • Would have been nice to have had a comparison of antibody-antigen detection over the four different time points from onset of symptoms 

  • M protein purity described as being “not high”, would have been better for robustness of assay to have been purer 

  • Short times described as a benefit of the assay. However, no mention of time required to carry out assay 

  • No conclusion reached on which antibody-antigen combinations had the most potential