nCoV: Serological detection of past SARS-CoV-2 infection by non-invasive sampling for field epidemiology and quantitative antibody detection

  • Funded by Department of Health and Social Care / National Institute for Health and Care Research (DHSC-NIHR), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Total publications:18 publications

Grant number: MC_PC_19078

Grant search

Key facts

  • Disease

  • Start & end year

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    Department of Health and Social Care / National Institute for Health and Care Research (DHSC-NIHR), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    United Kingdom, Europe
  • Lead Research Institution

    Imperial College London
  • Research Category

    Pathogen: natural history, transmission and diagnostics

  • Research Subcategory


  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group


  • Vulnerable Population


  • Occupations of Interest



This COVID-19 Rapid Response award is jointly funded (50:50) between the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research. The figure displayed is the total award amount of the two funders combined, with each partner contributing equally towards the project. The escalating numbers of affected individuals in China and the potential for importation of this infection to the UK during the pre-symptomatic and potentially infectious stage renders containment problematic. Acute diagnostic PCR is of short duration usefulness in identifying those recovered from the infection. The pattern of disease is clinically diffuse rendering identification of previous infections through clinical history very difficult. Here we describe the commitment of an exceptional and highly capable scientific group who, including the PI, have previously developed specific, sensitive serology for Ebola, Zika and Lassa. The Ebola tests were instrumental in the identification of seropositive persons who had recovered silently from Ebola and characterising their antibody response. Following the same methodology for SARS-CoV-2 will allow specific detection of antibody rather than placing reliance on SARS serological assays, permitting measurement of the penetration of this infection into any susceptible population. A test format will also be developed for the non-invasive sampling of oral fluid for G and M class antibody. Recombinant envelope proteins S1 and S2 and nucleoprotein will allow the sensitive detection of antibody. Our assays, also adaptable for Point of Care and diagnostic use, will be rendered specific by described methods for conjugate quenching previously developed by the group for Zika(1). Having serology which is diagnostically important for public health, herd immunity measures will also enable establishing WHO international standards. Measurement of neutralising antibody will be important for vaccine studies and characterisation of convalescent plasma(2).

Publicationslinked via Europe PMC

Last Updated:41 minutes ago

View all publications at Europe PMC

SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses associate with sex, age and disease severity in previously uninfected people admitted to hospital with COVID-19: An ISARIC4C prospective study.

Antibody tests for identification of current and past infection with SARS-CoV-2.

Broadening symptom criteria improves early case identification in SARS-CoV-2 contacts.

Upregulation of Human Endogenous Retroviruses in Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid of COVID-19 Patients.

Simple, sensitive, specific self-sampling assay secures SARS-CoV-2 antibody signals in sero-prevalence and post-vaccine studies.

Detection and quantification of antibody to SARS CoV 2 receptor binding domain provides enhanced sensitivity, specificity and utility.

Durable humoral responses after the second anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine dose in chronic myeloid leukaemia patients on tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Highly sensitive and specific detection of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant by double-mismatch allele-specific real time reverse transcription PCR.

Longevity of SARS-CoV-2 immune responses in hemodialysis patients and protection against reinfection.