Convenient and sensitive detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection by ELISA

gloved hand reaching for lab experiment test vials

Diagnostics of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection is a key measure to mitigate the current pandemic threat. Most of the current diagnostics tools are based on the detection of viral RNA by RT-PCR, which is a lengthy and costly procedure with limited capacity. ELISA is more convenient and economical than RT-PCR, suitable for screening a large number of samples, and widely used in clinical diagnostics with high specificity and sensitivity.

A team from the College of Veterinary Medicine propose that ELISA-based detection of viral antibodies can conveniently and sensitively detect SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially among asymptomatic carriers, who pose a major threat to the containment of viral spread. It also remains to be determined what animal species are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infections and may serve as intermediate hosts. Such ELISA test can be applied to identify both human and animal exposed populations, and thus helping to mitigate the current pandemics.

“Utilizing the existing expertise of my lab in recombinant protein expression and immunological assays, we propose to develop SARS-CoV-2 ELISA to identify the exposed populations in humans and animals for pandemics mitigation. We have three major aims, the results of which will be shared with clinical laboratories at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health,” said Yuying Liang, PhD, associate professor of veterinary and biomedical Sciences.

This project is supported by the UMN Campus Public Health Officer's CO:VID (Collaborative Outcomes: Visionary Innovation & Discovery) grants program, which support University of Minnesota faculty to catalyze and energize small-scale research projects designed to address and mitigate the COVID-19 virus and its associated risks.