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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Fluidity One-W Serum

The ability to accurately characterise the immune response against coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is of vital importance in managing the current COVID-19 pandemic. Measuring antibody affinity under physiologically relevant conditions in complex mixtures, such as serum, remains challenging, but is critically important to furthering our understanding of the immune response and protection window in patients and vaccinated individuals. Using microfluidic diffusional sizing (MDS), we have characterised an anti-spike S1 antibody by measuring its binding affinity to the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein directly in serum.

Introduction

In the quest to accurately identify individuals who are seropositive, as well as finding the most effective vaccines against the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2, it is fundamental to thoroughly characterise the immune response in the course of the infection or after vaccination. In particular, the virus-neutralising capacity of the immune system is of vital interest, and accurate tests to evaluate the affinity and quantity of neutralising antibodies (NAbs) in serum samples of COVID-19 patients or vaccinated individuals are key. Like other members of the coronavirus family, SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus that is predominantly made up of four main structural proteins: the envelope, membrane, nucleoprotein, and S proteins. The S protein is crucial for virus entry into the host cell. It is composed of two subunits: S1, which binds to the host cell receptor ACE2 (see Figure 1); and S2, which mediates the subsequent fusion of the virus with the cell membrane. Due to its key role mediating the first step of viral invasion of host cells, the RBD of S1 has proven to be the target of NAbs raised against other viruses of the corona family, and is likely to also be an important target in the case of SARS-CoV-2 (1).

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