Evaluation of a multi-species SARS-CoV-2 surrogate virus neutralization test

Embregts CWE, Verstrepen B, Langermans JAM, Böszörményi KP, Sikkema RS, de Vries RD, Hoffmann D, Wernike K, Smit LAM, Zhao S, Rockx B, Koopmans MPG, Haagmans BL, Kuiken T, GeurtsvanKessel CH

Assays to reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 specific neutralizing antibodies across species are urgently needed to study exposure and protection to infection. A recently developed surrogate virus-neutralization test (sVNT) provides a quick and commercially available alternative to the “gold standard” virus neutralization assay that uses authentic virus (the 50% plaque-reduction neutralization test (PRNT50)). The surrogate test relies on the inhibition of binding of the receptor binding domain on the spike protein to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 by antibodies present in sera. The test does not require species-specific conjugates, thus it can be used for human and animal sera. We tested 298 sera from COVID-19 patients, 151 sera from patients with other respiratory infections and 154 sera from nine animal species (cynomolgus and rhesus macaques, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, cats, cattle, mink and dromedary camels) to evaluate the assay. We present a promising high specificity and a moderate to high sensitivity using human sera (91.3% and 100%, figure) and animal sera (93.9% and 100%).

Published August 2021 in One Health

       Kinga surrogate test


Host switching pathogens, infectious outbreaks and zoonosis; a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 721367.