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SARS-CoV-2 Serum Neutralization Assay: A Traditional Tool for a Brand-New Virus

National Institute for Infectious Diseases “L. Spallanzani” IRCCS, Via Portuense 292, 00149 Rome, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Manuel Ramos-Casals
Viruses 2021, 13(4), 655;
Received: 22 March 2021 / Revised: 2 April 2021 / Accepted: 8 April 2021 / Published: 10 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19—Advances in Clinical and Epidemiological Aspects)
SARS-CoV-2 serum neutralization assay represents the gold standard for assessing antibody-mediated protection in naturally infected and vaccinated individuals. In the present study, 662 serum samples collected from February 2020 to January 2021 from acute and convalescent COVID-19 patients were tested to determine neutralizing antibody (NAb) titers using a microneutralization test (MNT) for live SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG, IgA, and IgM directed against different viral antigens were measured by high-throughput automated platforms. We observed higher levels of NAbs in elderly (>60 years old) individuals and in patients presenting acute respiratory distress syndrome. SARS-CoV-2 NAbs develop as soon as five days from symptom onset and, despite a decline after the second month, persist for over 11 months, showing variable dynamics. Through correlation and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, we set up a testing algorithm, suitable for the laboratory workload, by establishing an optimal cutoff value of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG for convalescent plasma donors to exclude from MNT samples foreseen to have low/negative NAb titers and ineligible for plasma donation. Overall, MNT, although cumbersome and not suitable for routine testing of large sample sizes, remains the reference tool for the assessment of antibody-mediated immunity after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Smart testing algorithms may optimize the laboratory workflow to monitor antibody-mediated protection in COVID-19 patients, plasma donors, and vaccinated individuals. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; neutralizing antibodies; protective immunity; serology SARS-CoV-2; neutralizing antibodies; protective immunity; serology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Matusali, G.; Colavita, F.; Lapa, D.; Meschi, S.; Bordi, L.; Piselli, P.; Gagliardini, R.; Corpolongo, A.; Nicastri, E.; Antinori, A.; Ippolito, G.; Capobianchi, M.R.; Castilletti, C.; INMI COVID-19 Laboratory Team. SARS-CoV-2 Serum Neutralization Assay: A Traditional Tool for a Brand-New Virus. Viruses 2021, 13, 655.

AMA Style

Matusali G, Colavita F, Lapa D, Meschi S, Bordi L, Piselli P, Gagliardini R, Corpolongo A, Nicastri E, Antinori A, Ippolito G, Capobianchi MR, Castilletti C, INMI COVID-19 Laboratory Team. SARS-CoV-2 Serum Neutralization Assay: A Traditional Tool for a Brand-New Virus. Viruses. 2021; 13(4):655.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Matusali, Giulia, Francesca Colavita, Daniele Lapa, Silvia Meschi, Licia Bordi, Pierluca Piselli, Roberta Gagliardini, Angela Corpolongo, Emanuele Nicastri, Andrea Antinori, Giuseppe Ippolito, Maria R. Capobianchi, Concetta Castilletti, and INMI COVID-19 Laboratory Team. 2021. "SARS-CoV-2 Serum Neutralization Assay: A Traditional Tool for a Brand-New Virus" Viruses 13, no. 4: 655.

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