COVID-19 serology testing is performed using an immunoassay (Roche). The test has been evaluated by the Diagnostic Support Group (DSP) at PHE Porton Down between 4 and 7 May 2020.
As of 22nd March, we will be detecting antibodies to both the Nucleocapsid antigen (anti-N) and the Spike antigen (anti-S) of SARS-CoV-2 for all requests, and we will report each antibody separately. This test is run in the Blood Sciences laboratory on serum samples.
SARS-CoV-2 antibody takes up to 4 weeks to develop post-COVID-19 infection or vaccination. Data to correlate antibody with protection against re-infection is currently lacking, but is an important element of the national SARS-CoV-2 research programme. For example, many RDE staff are participating in the SIREN study which is looking at re-infection rates in Health Care Workers post primary infection and/or vaccination.
Natural infection will result in both Anti-Spike antibody and Anti-Nucleocapsid antibody production, with ~95% of cases giving positive results.
Current vaccines (Pfizer, AstraZeneca) stimulate production of Anti-Spike antibody only, and not of Anti-Nucleocapsid antibody.
Please contact Microbiology for queries and to discuss any aspects of this test on rduh.MicroConsultants@nhs.net
(Key words: Coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2)
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Specimen Labelling Procedure