COVID-19 serological test must have high sensitivity as well as specificity to rule out cross-reactivity with common coronaviruses (HCoVs). We have developed a quantitative multiplex test, measuring antibodies against spike (S) proteins of SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and common human coronavirus strains (229E, NL63, OC43, HKU1), and nucleocapsid (N) protein of SARS-CoV viruses. Receptor binding domain of S protein of SARS-CoV-2 (S-RBD), and N protein, demonstrated sensitivity (94% and 92.5%, respectively) in COVID-19 patients (n = 53), with 98% specificity in non-COVID-19 respiratory-disease (n = 98), and healthy-controls (n = 129). Anti S-RBD and N antibodies appeared five to ten days post-onset of symptoms, peaking at approximately four weeks. The appearance of IgG and IgM coincided while IgG subtypes, IgG1 and IgG3 appeared soon after the total IgG; IgG2 and IgG4 remained undetectable. Several inflammatory cytokines/chemokines were found to be elevated in many COVID-19 patients (e.g., Eotaxin, Gro-α, CXCL-10 (IP-10), RANTES (CCL5), IL-2Rα, MCP-1, and SCGF-b); CXCL-10 was elevated in all. In contrast to antibody titers, levels of CXCL-10 decreased with the improvement in patient health suggesting it as a candidate for disease resolution. Importantly, anti-N antibodies appear before S-RBD and differentiate between vaccinated and infected people—current vaccines (and several in the pipeline) are S protein-based.
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