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Diagnostics COVID-19, Microbiology and immunology, Hematology

Identifying SARS-CoV-2 Plasma Donors: An Alternative Assay

Convalescent plasma therapy is under consideration for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, but finding suitable donors by measuring SARS-CoV-2 virus-neutralizing (VN) antibodies in the blood presents a challenge. The technique is complicated, labor-intensive, and restricted to biosafety level 3 laboratories. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Houston Methodist recognized the need for a different approach and used accessible, easy-to-use ELISA to measure the relationship between anti-spike ectodomain (ECD), anti-receptor binding domain (RBD) IgG titers, and SARS-CoV-2 VN titers (1).

Testing 2,814 plasma samples from asymptomatic adults, they found a strong positive correlation between anti-RBD and anti-ECD IgG titers and VN antibody levels at or above the FDA-recommended levels recommended for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. As viable alternatives to VN titers, these assays could enable more widespread identification of suitable convalescent plasma donors.

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  1. E Salazar et al., J Clin Invest, [ePub ahead of print] (2020). PMID: 32910806.

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Olivia Gaskill

During my undergraduate degree in psychology and Master’s in neuroimaging for clinical and cognitive neuroscience, I realized the tasks my classmates found tedious – writing essays, editing, proofreading – were the ones that gave me the greatest satisfaction. I quickly gathered that rambling on about science in the bar wasn’t exactly riveting for my non-scientist friends, so my thoughts turned to a career in science writing. At Texere, I get to craft science into stories, interact with international experts, and engage with readers who love science just as much as I do.

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