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Update – SARS-CoV-2 serology assay – 22nd March 2021

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.

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