Development of high throughput, inexpensive and scalable testing to detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using home blood collection kits and a fully automated ELISA antibody assay
Widely available testing is urgently required to diagnose past COVID‑19 infections (detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in serum) and to determine if immunity to COVID‑19 is durable. We propose to develop and validate a “home” blood collection kit to be used with a high throughput antibody testing platform to provide a high throughput (10,000 tests/day in one centre), inexpensive (<$15/test), accurate and easy to use assay for SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection. An initial pilot study on 100 volunteers will identify "home" blood collection kits that are easy to use for the patients, maintain the accuracy of the antibody testing platform and provide the optimum performance by the laboratory. We will select one "home" blood collection kit to use on a larger group of 1500 hospital workers to scale up the testing and identify any issues with the blood collection or testing. The goal is to develop an inexpensive and easy to use antibody test which could be rapidly scaled up to be available to very large populations of Canadians. In addition, the volunteers will have repeat blood antibody testing 3 and 6 months following the initial testing. This will provide information on the prevalence of past COVID‑19 infections, the incidence of new COVID‑19 infections and if immunity indicated by SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies is present and durable.