An automated approach to determine antibody endpoint titers for COVID-19 by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

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Immunohematology

American National Red Cross

Subject: Medical Laboratory Technology

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ISSN: 0894-203X
eISSN: 1930-3955

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VOLUME 37 , ISSUE 1 (March 2021) > List of articles

An automated approach to determine antibody endpoint titers for COVID-19 by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

A.D. Ho / H. Verkerke / J.W. Allen / B.J. Saeedi / D. Boyer / J. Owens / S. Shin / M. Horwath / K. Patel / A. Paul / S.-C. Wu / S. Chonat / P. Zerra / C. Lough / J.D. Roback / A. Neish / C.D. Josephson / C.M. Arthur / S.R. Stowell *

Keywords : coronavirus, COVID-19, ELISA, endpoint titers, automatic program, Python, Prism

Citation Information : Immunohematology. Volume 37, Issue 1, Pages 33-43, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/immunohematology-2021-007

License : (Transfer of Copyright)

Published Online: 31-March-2021

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ABSTRACT

While a variety of therapeutic options continue to emerge for COVID-19 treatment, convalescent plasma (CP) has been used as a possible treatment option early in the pandemic. One of the most significant challenges with CP therapy, however, both when defining its efficacy and implementing its approach clinically, is accurately and efficiently characterizing an otherwise heterogenous therapeutic treatment. Given current limitations, our goal is to leverage a SARS antibody testing platform with a newly developed automated endpoint titer analysis program to rapidly define SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels in CP donors and hospitalized patients. A newly developed antibody detection platform was used to perform a serial dilution enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for immunoglobulin (Ig)G, IgM, and IgA SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Data were then analyzed using commercially available software, GraphPad Prism, or a newly developed program developed in Python called TiterScape, to analyze endpoint titers. Endpoint titer calculations and analysis times were then compared between the two analysis approaches. Serial dilution analysis of SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels revealed a high level of heterogeneity between individuals. Commercial platform analysis required significant time for manual data input and extrapolated endpoint titer values when the last serial dilution was above the endpoint cutoff, occasionally producing erroneously high results. By contrast, TiterScape processed 1008 samples for endpoint titer results in roughly 14 minutes compared with the 8 hours required for the commercial software program analysis. Equally important, results generated by TiterScape and Prism were highly similar, with differences averaging 1.26 ± 0.2 percent (mean ± SD). The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges when seeking to accurately test large numbers of individuals for SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels with a rapid turnaround time. ELISA platforms capable of serial dilution analysis coupled with a highly flexible software interface may provide a useful tool when seeking to define endpoint titers in a high-throughput manner. Immunohematology 2021;37:33–43.

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