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Published in The Lancet. Microbe - 01 Feb 2021

Rosado J, Pelleau S, Cockram C, Merkling SH, Nekkab N, Demeret C, Meola A, Kerneis S, Terrier B, Fafi-Kremer S, de Seze J, Bruel T, Dejardin F, Petres S, Longley R, Fontanet A, Backovic M, Mueller I, White MT,

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 33521709

Link to DOI – 10.1016/S2666-5247(20)30197-X

Lancet Microbe 2021 Feb; 2(2): e60-e69

Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces an antibody response targeting multiple antigens that changes over time. This study aims to take advantage of this complexity to develop more accurate serological diagnostics.A multiplex serological assay was developed to measure IgG and IgM antibody responses to seven SARS-CoV-2 spike or nucleoprotein antigens, two antigens for the nucleoproteins of the 229E and NL63 seasonal coronaviruses, and three non-coronavirus antigens. Antibodies were measured in serum samples collected up to 39 days after symptom onset from 215 adults in four French hospitals (53 patients and 162 health-care workers) with quantitative RT-PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, and negative control serum samples collected from healthy adult blood donors before the start of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic (335 samples from France, Thailand, and Peru). Machine learning classifiers were trained with the multiplex data to classify individuals with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, with the best classification performance displayed by a random forests algorithm. A Bayesian mathematical model of antibody kinetics informed by prior information from other coronaviruses was used to estimate time-varying antibody responses and assess the sensitivity and classification performance of serological diagnostics during the first year following symptom onset. A statistical estimator is presented that can provide estimates of seroprevalence in very low-transmission settings.IgG antibody responses to trimeric spike protein (Stri) identified individuals with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection with 91·6% (95% CI 87·5-94·5) sensitivity and 99·1% (97·4-99·7) specificity. Using a serological signature of IgG and IgM to multiple antigens, it was possible to identify infected individuals with 98·8% (96·5-99·6) sensitivity and 99·3% (97·6-99·8) specificity. Informed by existing data from other coronaviruses, we estimate that 1 year after infection, a monoplex assay with optimal anti-Stri IgG cutoff has 88·7% (95% credible interval 63·4-97·4) sensitivity and that a four-antigen multiplex assay can increase sensitivity to 96·4% (80·9-100·0). When applied to population-level serological surveys, statistical analysis of multiplex data allows estimation of seroprevalence levels less than 2%, below the false-positivity rate of many other assays.Serological signatures based on antibody responses to multiple antigens can provide accurate and robust serological classification of individuals with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. This provides potential solutions to two pressing challenges for SARS-CoV-2 serological surveillance: classifying individuals who were infected more than 6 months ago and measuring seroprevalence in serological surveys in very low-transmission settings.European Research Council. Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale. Institut Pasteur Task Force COVID-19.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33521709