PLoS One. 2021 Mar 16;16(3):e0248729. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248729. eCollection 2021.
BACKGROUND: As COVID-19 vaccines become available, screening individuals for prior COVID-19 infection and vaccine response in point-of-care (POC) settings has renewed interest. We prospectively screened at-risk individuals for SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid protein antibodies in a POC setting to determine if it was a feasible method to identify antibody from prior infection.
METHODS: Three EUA-approved lateral flow antibody assays were performed on POC finger-stick blood and compared with serum and a CLIA nucleocapsid antibody immunoassay. Variables including antibody class, time since PCR, and the assay antigen used were evaluated.
RESULTS: 512 subjects enrolled, of which 104 had a COVID-19 history and positive PCR. Only three PCR-positive subjects required hospitalization, with one requiring mechanical ventilation. The POC results correlated well with the immunoassay (93-97% sensitivity) and using serum did not improve the sensitivity or specificity.
CONCLUSIONS: Finger-stick, POC COVID-19 antibody testing was highly effective in identifying antibody resulting from prior infections in mildly symptomatic subjects. Using high-complexity serum immunoassays did not improve the screening outcome. Almost all individuals with COVID-19 infection produced detectable antibodies to the virus. POC antibody testing is useful as a screen for prior COVID-19 infection, and should be useful in assessing vaccine response.