Background: The severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), rapidly spread across the globe and caused a pandemic we are currently facing (ref 1). Along with nucleic acid–based tests that are used for the diagnosis of acute (current) SARS-CoV-2 infections, serological assays are promising and could be instrumental to manage COVID-19. Obtaining serological assays with validated sensitivity and specificity performance could offer essential tools in the diagnosis of infection, the measurements of protective antibody titers upon vaccination, and seroprevalence assessments of immunity in a population (ref 2). ELISA and lateral flow assays have recently received strong attention and many laboratories are now developing numerous assays and importantly are evaluating their performance (ref 2).
We aim to develop a simple and low-cost assay to detect SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies using genetically modified bacteria acting as surface display of antigen.
Our project has three goals: (1.) establishing a proof-of-concept of low-cost detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies as well as setting two end-user applications (2. and 3.).
- Detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies using a simple and robust agglutination assay based on the engineering of antigen-displaying bacteria (3 months).
Output: Proof-of-concept of the detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies.
- Low cost point-of-care: Adaptation to lateral flow strip assay (2-4 months)
Output: Performance for point of care assay and auto-test.
- Magnetic capture of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies using engineered magnetic bacteria (1 month): Output: Magnetic capture and extraction of target antibodies using a new technology developed in our lab based on magnetic bacteria.
1. P. Zhou et al., Nature 579, 270 (2020). doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7
2. SARS-CoV-2 serological analysis of COVID-19 hospitalized patients, pauci-symptomatic individuals and blood donors.