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J Biol Chem ; : 101290, 2021 Oct 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1472024

ABSTRACT

The current COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the importance of obtaining reliable methods for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2. A highly specific and sensitive diagnostic test able to differentiate the SARS-CoV-2 virus from common human coronaviruses is therefore needed. Coronavirus nucleoprotein (N) localizes to the cytoplasm and the nucleolus, and are required for viral RNA synthesis. N is the most abundant coronavirus protein, so it is of utmost importance to develop specific antibodies for its detection. In this study, we developed a sandwich immunoassay to recognize the SARS-CoV-2 N protein. We immunized one alpaca with recombinant SARS-CoV-2 N and constructed a large single variable domain on heavy chain (VHH) antibody library. After phage display selection, 7 VHHs recognizing the full N protein were identified by ELISA. These VHHs did not recognize the nucleoproteins of the four common human coronaviruses. Hydrogen Deuterium eXchange-Mass Spectrometry (HDX-MS) analysis also showed that these VHHs mainly targeted conformational epitopes in either the C-terminal or the N-terminal domains. All VHHs were able to recognize SARS-CoV-2 in infected cells or on infected hamster tissues. Moreover, the VHHs could detect the SARS variants B.1.17/alpha, B.1.351/beta and P1/gamma. We propose that this sandwich immunoassay could be applied to specifically detect the SARS-CoV-2 N in human nasal swabs.

2.
Sci Transl Med ; 12(559)2020 09 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-724557

ABSTRACT

It is of paramount importance to evaluate the prevalence of both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and their differing antibody response profiles. Here, we performed a pilot study of four serological assays to assess the amounts of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in serum samples obtained from 491 healthy individuals before the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, 51 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, 209 suspected cases of COVID-19 with mild symptoms, and 200 healthy blood donors. We used two ELISA assays that recognized the full-length nucleoprotein (N) or trimeric spike (S) protein ectodomain of SARS-CoV-2. In addition, we developed the S-Flow assay that recognized the S protein expressed at the cell surface using flow cytometry, and the luciferase immunoprecipitation system (LIPS) assay that recognized diverse SARS-CoV-2 antigens including the S1 domain and the carboxyl-terminal domain of N by immunoprecipitation. We obtained similar results with the four serological assays. Differences in sensitivity were attributed to the technique and the antigen used. High anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers were associated with neutralization activity, which was assessed using infectious SARS-CoV-2 or lentiviral-S pseudotype virus. In hospitalized patients with COVID-19, seroconversion and virus neutralization occurred between 5 and 14 days after symptom onset, confirming previous studies. Seropositivity was detected in 32% of mildly symptomatic individuals within 15 days of symptom onset and in 3% of healthy blood donors. The four antibody assays that we used enabled a broad evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and antibody profiling in different subpopulations within one region.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Serologic Tests/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Cohort Studies , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Female , Flow Cytometry/methods , France/epidemiology , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Immunoprecipitation/methods , Luciferases , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Young Adult
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