A high-throughput liquid bead array assay confirms strong correlation between SARS-CoV-2 antibody level and COVID-19 severity.


A detailed understanding of the adaptive host response to SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans is urgently needed. We developed a sensitive, high-throughput, and efficient assay using liquid bead array technology. We observed advantages over traditional ELISA for the detection and quantification of binding IgG against the receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2. To determine whether COVID-19 symptom severity correlates with SARS-CoV-2 IgG, we measured anti-RBD IgG levels from 67 subjects recovered from PCR-confirmed COVID-19. We found that COVID-19 symptom severity strongly correlated with RBD IgG level (p  0.001). These findings have substantial implications for public policy surrounding assessments of antibody responses and possible immunity, as not all cases of COVID-19 can be assumed to generate a protective antibody response, and mild disease in particular is capable of generating very low-level anti-RBD IgG levels. These findings also have important implications for the selection of donors for convalescent plasma to be used therapeutically.