A novel rapid detection for SARS-CoV-2 spike 1 antigens using human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)

Jong Hwan Lee, Minsuk Choi, Yujin Jung, Sung Kyun Lee, Chang Seop Lee, Jung Kim, Jongwoo Kim, Nam Hoon Kim, Bum Tae Kim, Hong Gi Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


© 2020 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a newly emerging human infectious disease. Because no specific antiviral drugs or vaccines are available to treat COVID-19, early diagnostics, isolation, and prevention are crucial for containing the outbreak. Molecular diagnostics using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) are the current gold standard for detection. However, viral RNAs are much less stable during transport and storage than proteins such as antigens and antibodies. Consequently, false-negative RT-PCR results can occur due to inadequate collection of clinical specimens or poor handling of a specimen during testing. Although antigen immunoassays are stable diagnostics for detection of past infection, infection progress, and transmission dynamics, no matched antibody pair for immunoassay of SARS-CoV-2 antigens has yet been reported. In this study, we designed and developed a novel rapid detection method for SARS-CoV-2 spike 1 (S1) protein using the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2, which can form matched pairs with commercially available antibodies. ACE2 and S1-mAb were paired with each other for capture and detection in a lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) that did not cross-react with SARS-CoV Spike 1 or MERS-CoV Spike 1 protein. The SARS-CoV-2 S1 (<5 ng of recombinant proteins/reaction) was detected by the ACE2-based LFIA. The limit of detection of our ACE2-LFIA was 1.86 × 105 copies/mL in the clinical specimen of COVID-19 Patients without no cross-reactivity for nasal swabs from healthy subjects. This is the first study to detect SARS-CoV-2 S1 antigen using an LFIA with matched pair consisting of ACE2 and antibody. Our findings will be helpful to detect the S1 antigen of SARS-CoV-2 from COVID-19 patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

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