New Assay Quickly Tests SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization and Screens Antivirals

by StartupWorld Staff         

Galveston, Texas-based, the University of Texas Medical Branch’s research team, recently developed a new platform that can quickly test neutralizing antibodies activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) execute high-throughput potential antiviral agents screening.

The researched new assay titled SARS-CoV-2-Nluc (nanoluciferase SARS-CoV-2) give rise to neutralizing antibody results more rapidly than the present gold-standard technique, reducing the turnaround time from 3 days to 5 hours.

As a SARS-CoV-2 potentially effective inhibitor, SARS-CoV-2-Nluc also performed high-throughput, reliable antiviral screening. It also identifies the human rhinovirus drug rupintrivir.

However, the author stated that rupintrivir might now be examined for testing further to regulate its potential treatment for COVID-19. The paper’s preprinted version is available on the bioRxiv* server, an open-access preprint repository for the biological sciences. However, the article is undergoing peer review.

New Assay Quickly Tests SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization and Screens Antivirals

Since late 2019, when the coronavirus outbreak started from Wuhan, China. The testing was held on nucleic-based RT-PCR, i.e., reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction testing was used to diagnose people with an acute viral infection. This current testing technique traces and controls transmission of contact.

But the registered number of coronavirus-infected individuals with no symptoms now needs an urgent rapid, and reliable true scale to establish the infection within communities.

Moreover, being able to assess the neutralizing antibodies level quickly would help scientists understand the post-infection immunity. It also identifies protective antibodies potential donors and will help vaccines that are in the pipeline currently.

A number of serological assays had developed. However, the plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) is the first gold standard. As it determines directly, the levels of neutralizing antibodies require to inhibit wild-type virus.

However, the present technique is low-throughput, which has a turnaround time that makes it not suitable for COVID-19 large-scale diagnosis.

The researchers said that a high-throughput platform would highly facilitate antiviral screening and COVID-19 serological testing.

Recently developed the SARS-CoV-2-Nluc platform by Pei-Yong Shi and colleagues have a reporter virus assay that shows similar replica to wild-type SARS-CoV-2 in vitro.

The results generated by using the assay by measuring antibody neutralization in the sera of COVID-19 patients were similar to those of conventional PRNT.

In addition, the turnaround time recorded with the high-throughput SARS-CoV-2-Nluc assay is 3 hours, which was majorly shorter than the current achieved with the low-throughput PRNT i.e., 3 days.

Even though the assay was executed for this study in a 96-well format, Shi and his team mentioned that the dynamic and magnitude range of the SARS-CoV-2-Nluc signal that could be adapted easily to a 384- or 1536-well format for large-scale testing.

Thus, the SARS-CoV-2-Nluc assay can be readily employed for large-scale evaluation of vaccine and neutralizing antibody testing in humans.


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