High-throughput and rapid serology assays to detect the antibody response specific to severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in human blood samples are urgently required to improve our understanding of the effects of COVID-19 across the world.
Short-term applications include rapid case identification and contact tracing to limit viral spread, while population screening to determine the extent of viral infection across communities is a longer-term need. Assays developed to address these needs should match the ASSURED criteria. We have identified agglutination tests based on the commonly employed blood typing methods as a viable option. These blood typing tests are employed in hospitals worldwide, are high-throughput, fast (10–30 min), and automated in most cases.
Herein, we describe the application of agglutination assays to SARS-CoV-2 serology testing by combining column agglutination testing with peptide–antibody bioconjugates, which facilitate red cell cross-linking only in the presence of plasma containing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. This simple, rapid, and easily scalable approach has immediate application in SARS-CoV-2 serological testing and is a useful platform for assay development beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.