Standardization of ELISA protocols for serosurveys of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic using clinical and at-home blood sampling
The extent of SARS-CoV-2 infection throughout the United States population is currently unknown. High quality serology is key to avoiding medically costly diagnostic errors, as well as to assuring properly informed public health decisions. Here, we present an optimized ELISA-based serology protocol, from antigen production to data analyses, that helps define thresholds for IgG and IgM seropositivity with high specificities. Validation of this protocol is performed using traditionally collected serum as well as dried blood on mail-in blood sampling kits. Archival (pre-2019) samples are used as negative controls, and convalescent, PCR-diagnosed COVID-19 patient samples serve as positive controls. Using this protocol, minimal cross-reactivity is observed for the spike proteins of MERS, SARS1, OC43 and HKU1 viruses, and no cross reactivity is observed with anti-influenza A H1N1 HAI. Our protocol may thus help provide standardized, population-based data on the extent of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity, immunity and infection.