A high-throughput multiplexed microfluidic device for COVID-19 serology assays†
The applications of serology tests to the virus SARS-CoV-2 are diverse, ranging from diagnosing COVID-19, understanding the humoral response to this disease, and estimating its prevalence in a population, to modeling the course of the pandemic. COVID-19 serology assays will significantly benefit from sensitive and reliable technologies that can process dozens of samples in parallel, thus reducing costs and time; however, they will also benefit from biosensors that can assess antibody reactivities to multiple SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Here, we report a high-throughput microfluidic device that can assess antibody reactivities against four SARS-CoV-2 antigens from up to 50 serum samples in parallel. This semi-automatic platform measures IgG and IgM levels against four SARS-CoV-2 proteins: the spike protein (S), the S1 subunit (S1), the receptor-binding domain (RBD), and the nucleocapsid (N). After assay optimization, we evaluated sera from infected individuals with COVID-19 and a cohort of archival samples from 2018. The assay achieved a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 91%. Nonetheless, both parameters increased to 100% when evaluating sera from individuals in the third week after symptom onset. To further assess our platform's utility, we monitored the antibody titers from 5 COVID-19 patients over a time course of several weeks. Our platform can aid in global efforts to control and understand COVID-19.