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Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0068021, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455680


Validated assays are essential for reliable serosurveys; however, most SARS-CoV-2 immunoassays have been validated using specimens from China, Europe, or U.S. populations. We evaluated the performance of five commercial SARS-CoV-2 immunoassays to inform their use in serosurveys in Nigeria. Four semiquantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) (Euroimmun anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein [NCP] immunoglobulin G [IgG], Euroimmun spike SARS-CoV-2 IgG, Mologic Omega COVID-19 IgG, Bio-Rad Platelia SARS-CoV-2 Total Ab) and one chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay (Abbott Architect SARS-CoV-2 IgG) were evaluated. We estimated the analytical performance characteristics using plasma from 100 SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive patients from varied time points post-PCR confirmation and 100 prepandemic samples (50 HIV positive and 50 hepatitis B positive). The Bio-Rad assay failed the manufacturer-specified validation steps. The Euroimmun NCP, Euroimmun spike, and Mologic assays had sensitivities of 73.7%, 74.4%, and 76.9%, respectively, on samples taken 15 to 58 days after PCR confirmation and specificities of 97%, 100%, and 83.8%, respectively. The Abbott assay had 71.3% sensitivity and 100% specificity on the same panel. Parallel or serial algorithms combining two tests did not substantially improve the sensitivity or specificity. Our results showed lower sensitivity and, for one immunoassay, lower specificity compared to the manufacturers' results and other reported validations. Seroprevalence estimates using these assays might need to be interpreted with caution in Nigeria and similar settings. These findings highlight the importance of in-country validations of SARS-CoV-2 serological assays prior to use to ensure that accurate results are available for public health decision-making to control the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. IMPORTANCE This study used positive and negative sample panels from Nigeria to test the performance of several commercially available SARS-CoV-2 serological assays. Using these prepandemic and SARS-CoV-2-positive samples, we found much lower levels of sensitivity in four commercially available assays than most assay manufacturer reports and independent evaluations. The use of these assays with suboptimal sensitivity and specificity in Nigeria or countries with population exposure to similar endemic pathogens could lead to a biased estimate of the seroprevalence, over- or underestimating the true disease prevalence, and limit efforts to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2. It is important to conduct in-country validations of serological SARS-CoV-2 assays prior to their widespread use, especially in countries with limited representation in published assay validations.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Female , Humans , Male , Nigeria/epidemiology , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroepidemiologic Studies