Performance of the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG II quantitative antibody assay including the new Variants of Concern, VOC 202012/V1 (United Kingdom) and VOC 202012/V2 (South Africa), and first steps towards global harmonization of COVID-19 antibody methods

Emma English (Lead Author), Laura E. Cook, Isabelle Piec, Samir Dervisevic, William D. Fraser, W. Garry John

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In the initial stages of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) COVID-19 pandemic, a plethora of new serology tests were developed and introduced to the global market. Many were not evaluated rigorously, and there is a significant lack of concordance in results across methods. To enable meaningful clinical decisions to be made, robustly evaluated, quantitative serology methods are needed. These should be harmonized to a primary reference material, allowing for the comparison of trial data and improved clinical decision making. A comprehensive evaluation of the new Abbott IgG II anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG method was undertaken using CLSI-based protocols. Two different candidate primary reference materials and verification panels were assessed with a goal to move toward harmonization. The Abbott IgG II method performed well across a wide range of parameters with excellent imprecision (,3.5%) and was linear throughout the positive range (tested to 38,365AU/ml). The sensitivity (based on $14-day post-positive reverse transcription-PCR [RT-PCR] samples) and specificity were 98.3% (90.6% to 100.0%) and 99.5% (97.1% to 100%), respectively. The candidate reference materials showed poor correlation across methods, with mixed responses noted in methods that use the spike protein versus the nucleocapsid proteins as their binding antigen. The Abbott IgG II anti-SARS-CoV-2 measurement appears to be the first linear method potentially capable of monitoring the immune response to natural infection, including from new emerging variants. The candidate reference materials assessed did not generate uniform results across several methods, and further steps are needed to enable the harmonization process.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00288-21
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number9
Early online date14 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2021


  • Analytical performance
  • Antibody assay
  • COVID-19
  • Evaluation
  • Harmonization
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Serology
  • Variants

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