Background: To assess protective immunity among a general population against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the correlation of the commercially available solid-phase assay (SPA) for SARS-CoV-2 IgG with a neutralization assay must be investigated.
Methods: Both the neutralization assay and SPA were performed on samples of 143 recovered coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. SARS-CoV-2 IgG was measured using two SPAs for the chemiluminescence immunoassay principle with different target proteins: nucleocapsid and spike protein (Architect i2000SR [Abbott] and Liaison XL [DiaSorin], respectively). The plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) was conducted to obtain titers for the neutralizing antibody.
Results: All patients had PRNT titers ranging from 10 to 2,560. Spike Ab SPA had greater sensitivity than nucleocapsid Ab SPA (81.1% [116/143] and 70.6% [101/143], respectively, p = 0.003). The values measured for both SPAs had a positive correlation with the PRNT titers (both R = 0.77, p < 0.001). To predict a high PRNT titer (≥ 160), cutoff values of two SPAs were adjusted based on receiver-operating characteristics curve analysis. The nucleocapsid Ab SPA (cutoff index of 4.17) attained 90.3% sensitivity and 75.9% specificity, whereas the spike Ab SPA (cutoff value of 109 unit/mL) attained 87.1% sensitivity and 89.3% specificity. Therefore, the spike Ab SPA had greater specificity than the nucleocapsid Ab SPA (p = 0.003).
Conclusions: The qualitative SPA for nucleocapsid Ab, as well as the quantitative SPA for spike Ab, had a modest positive correlation with the neutralization assay. However, spike Ab SPA was more suitable for neutralizing capacity.