Publications & Posters

Ultra-sensitive Serial Profiling Of Sars-cov-2 Antigens And Antibodies In Plasma To Understand Disease Progression In Covid-19 Patients With Severe Disease


Ogata AF, Maley AM, Wu C, Gilboa T, Norman M, Lazarovits R, Mao CP, Newton G, Chang M, Nguyen K, Kamkaew M, Zhu Q, Gibson TE, Ryan ET, Charles RC, Marasco WA and Walt DR.

Clin Chem. 2020 Sep 8 : hvaa213

DOI: 10.1093/clinchem/hvaa213



Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected over 21 million people worldwide since August 16, 2020. Compared to PCR and serology tests, SARS-CoV-2 antigen assays are underdeveloped, despite their potential to identify active infection and monitor disease progression.


We used Single Molecule Array (Simoa) assays to quantitatively detect SARS-CoV-2 spike, S1 subunit, and nucleocapsid antigens in the plasma of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients. We studied plasma from 64 COVID-19 positive patients, 17 COVID-19 negative patients, and 34 pre-pandemic patients. Combined with Simoa anti-SARS-CoV-2 serological assays, we quantified changes in 31 SARS-CoV-2 biomarkers in 272 longitudinal plasma samples obtained for 39 COVID-19 patients. Data were analyzed by hierarchical clustering and were compared to longitudinal RT-PCR test results and clinical outcomes.


SARS-CoV-2 S1 and N antigens were detectable in 41 out of 64 COVID-19 positive patients. In these patients, full antigen clearance in plasma was observed a mean ± 95%CI of 5 ± 1 days after seroconversion and nasopharyngeal RT-PCR tests reported positive results for 15 ± 5 days after viral antigen clearance. Correlation between patients with high concentrations of S1 antigen and ICU admission (77%) and time to intubation (within one day) was statistically significant.


The reported SARS-CoV-2 Simoa antigen assay is the first to detect viral antigens in the plasma of COVID-19 positive patients to date. These data show that SARS-CoV-2 viral antigens in the blood are associated with disease progression, such as respiratory failure, in COVID-19 cases with severe disease.